Posted on 03-02-2016
Filed Under (Fun) by Steven on 03-02-2016

This ones for Mom.  In the news:

Tucson News 

Pabaon News

Total Packers

Island Packet

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Posted on 26-03-2015
Filed Under (Random) by Steven on 26-03-2015

It is another time of year when kids (and adults) get a chance to overdose on sugar.   And I love it.   However, this year we are doing something different and making sure all of the candy in our house is natural, organic, and free of artificial dyes.

We ordered our dye free snacks from http://dyefreetreats.com/

Dye free jelly beansDye free Easter egg coloring kit

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Posted on 16-10-2013
Filed Under (Programming Hints, wehodo) by Steven on 16-10-2013

I was recently asked about Drupal hosting for a client with several Drupal websites. They were looking to consolidate to a single provider for all of their Drupal sites, but only had a budget of around $250/month. They were already using Acquia, a great Drupal specific host, but looking to cut down their costs. Here are the other options we discussed:

BlackMesh, They are a fully managed hosting solution, Drupal specific server administrators. However, not in the $250/month range for all of the sites and servers they would be needing.

Rackspace, the strength is in some of their very specific setups that they provide like the Cloud Sites. But those specific setups might not quite work for your needs. They have a robust control panel, but for many IT folks it doesn’t give you all of the flexibility you need. Also, compared to AWS, you will usually end up paying more for the same size servers and bandwidth.

AWS, Our IT guys prefer the unlimited flexibility of AWS. We use EC2 for everything. You do need to make sure they have some sharp IT guys available to make sure everything is well configured and managed. There are some good tools to help you get started, like preconfigured Drupal servers. AWS is the ultimate of being able to pay only for what you use. Especially if you take advantage of AWS reserved server pricing, I would expect they could get their costs even lower than $250/month.

There are some other hosting providers that basically give a cleaner interface into larger cloud providers like AWS. A common one is heroku.com. The servers are still AWS, but you can easily manage your infrastructure with simple slide controls. It abstracts that server management away from your immediate control. Heroku now supports PHP, but it is a newer technology for them. It would be difficult to put all of their Drupal sites on the same heroku app, but many of their smaller sites might cost little or nothing to keep running as separate heroku apps.

Another one I haven’t personally used, but several devs from Utah are loving and using now is pagodabox.com. Similar to heroku.com but a larger focus on PHP applications. Pagodabox could be a good option for Newhouse. Pagodabox uses SoftLayer for their servers and cloud hosting. So it is a good mix of simple server management with powerful cloud servers. Pagodabox would take some setup on the Drupal side to make sure static files, uploads, etc are being stored on a shared drive or a cdn. Basically they would need to make their site load balance ready. There are tutorials for setting up Drupal on their system. Pagodabox has a Web Components feature that lets you setup multiple code-bases and multiple sites but all sharing the same server resources.

With heroku or pagodabox it makes it easy to ramp up or down server resources based on their needs. So you might ramp up to 3 or 4 larger servers during the peak traffic times of year or months, then lower it down to save money in the lower traffic periods.

The last recommendation is Pantheon. They are another Drupal focused hosting provider. They also provide some great tools for collaborating together on a Drupal site. Most companies would probably need their $400/month level. A big benefit here is similar to Acquia they are optimized for Drupal. With the flat rate tiers, you don’t get the benefit of paying only for what they use. But that can also be a benefit since you won’t ever pay more than $400. A problem with pantheon is I believe they only support single Drupal codebase, so you have to use a Drupal module to host multiple sites all on the same codebase, which would probably take some refactoring of existing sites.

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Posted on 07-10-2013
Filed Under (Engineering) by Steven on 07-10-2013

Now you can control your sprinklers with your smart phone. Easy peasy, limon squeezy.

We have the technology. We’ve sent a man to the moon. So why are we still running in and out of the garage to see if our sprinklers are working? Lono lets you control your sprinkler system anywhere, anytime with your smart phone. And the things that should be automated, finally are.

Rain is building this cool new device and recently posted it on Kickstarter.

Check it out on Kickstarter



Development & Hardware

Rain wanted to develop this quickly so we used the Arduino platform. The initial prototype is using the Arduino Uno R3. Lono includes bluetooth 4.0 (LE) so the Lono app will be able to recognize the device by proximity (no pairing required). This will make setup of the device a snap– especially on iOS 7 which has an API to automatically setup wifi access.

Manufacturing Plan

The plan is to deliver by the first day of Spring (March 20). The schedule is to continue refining and testing the prototype until our kickstarter is funded.

Check it out on Kickstarter



Compare other Smart Sprinkler Controllers

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Posted on 01-04-2013
Filed Under (Fun) by Steven on 01-04-2013

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Posted on 31-12-2012
Filed Under (Nicaragua) by Steven on 31-12-2012

Here I have put together a list of the cheapest rates I have been able to find for calling Nicaragua without a calling card (the rates I  have seen for calling cards haven’t been any cheaper).

  • Twilio: 22¢ landlines, 31¢ mobile
  • AT&T World Connect: 40¢ landlines, 50¢ mobile  (with $3.99 additional monthly fee)
  • Vonage World Plus Latin America 100: 12¢ landlines, 20¢ mobile (with $29.99 monthly service fee)
  • Google Voice: 15¢ landlines, 22¢ mobile
  • voipo: 18¢ landlines, 29¢ mobile
  • localphone.com: 11.9¢ landline, 19.8¢ mobile
  • Skype: 23.5¢ landline, 24.8¢ mobile
  • Sonetel: 12.1¢ landline,  21.5¢ mobile
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Posted on 12-11-2012
Filed Under (Electronics) by Steven on 12-11-2012

It has been a 3 years since we purchased our Kirby vacuum and I posted something about our experience, The truth about Kirby Vacuums! Kirby sentria.  It has been interesting to read all of the comments that have been posted on that article about various people’s experiences with Kirby sales people over the years.   The stories seem to be pretty consistent, most everyone is impressed with the actual vacuum and if you haggle long enough you can get it for around $850 more or less.

We’ve had ours for over 3 years now, and it has continued to work like a charm.  The motor is running great and it still seems to have kept the same power.   We have replaced the rubber belt, but those are pretty cheap to order online.  And now that our son is 4 years old he is strong enough to push the vacuum, at least when the drive is turned on, although he still loves just vacuuming with the hose.

We honestly haven’t used it for many of the any additional features, like shampooing the carpets.  But it has been a great vacuum and we definitely don’t regret the purchase.  So is the vacuum really worth $850 more or less?  I’ll have to make that decision in another 15-20 years.  Part of the biggest selling points of the vacuum is that it has solid metal parts and is built to last for decades.  Assuming this really is our last vacuum, then yes the money will be worth it.

It’s too bad so many people seem to have bad experiences with their sales people.  Running a business completely on door to door sales is bound to cause frustrations. We are all busy people and might not enjoy spending a few hours with somebody trying to sell you a vacuum.


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Posted on 13-09-2012
Filed Under (iphone) by Steven on 13-09-2012


It is a model I’ll probably skip. But the features I do like are:
– Thinner, always nice
– 4G LTE, both AT&T and Verizon
– faster processor, so overall things load a bit faster

The larger screen is cool, but not really an extra selling point for me. So my iPhone 4S is still good for me and I’ll probably wait until an iPhone 5S comes out next year. Of course that is also influenced by my 2 year upgrade schedule not coming around until next year, so it would cost me an additional $250 to upgrade now.

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Posted on 26-04-2012
Filed Under (Free) by Steven on 26-04-2012

2 GB + 500 MB bonus
This is the easiest one. Just sign-up using this link (my referral link, you and I will both get a bonus 500 MB, see step #4). After signing up and installing the drop box application on your desktop, you should have a total of 2.5 GB of space available. 2 GB is the standard dropbox amount and you get an additional 500 MB for signing up using somebody else’s referral link. http://db.tt/KCgCXLQh

250 MB
Dropbox outlines a few easy steps as an introduction to dropbox. Just complete those 5 basic steps and you’ll receive a bonus 250 MB. dropbox.com/gs

3 GB
Go and get the latest beta version of the desktop client or android app. There is a new feature that automatically uploads photos from your android device or when you insert a camera into your computer. You’ll earn a bonus 500 MB for every 500 MB you upload. So go take some long videos dropbox.com/help/287

625 MB
Go to dropbox.com/free, there you will see various steps you can complete, each one giving you an additional 128 MB. Connect dropbox with Twitter, Facebook, give a review, than share that review on twitter. dropbox.com/free

16 GB
You will get 500 MB free for every person you refer, up to a limit of 16 GB. This one could be a little tough unless you have lots of friends that are just waiting by their computer to install dropbox. dropbox.com/referrals

That’s it! You should be able to get at least 6 GB without referring anybody using these steps. Thanks dropbox for the free space in the cloud. And if you can max out your referral bonus on dropbox you should be well over 20 GBs of space, that is 15 GB more than Google Drive (or most any other online storage service) gives you on a free tier.

Update: You can get 1 GB more for completing Dropquest 2012. You can search for most of the answers on Google so it won’t take you too long. Dropquest 2012

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Posted on 26-10-2011
Filed Under (Fun) by Steven on 26-10-2011

Just stare at the center crosshair for a minute.



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