Sunday, January 27, 2019

Puttering in the Shop - Junkyard Entertainment System - Building the Screen Cabinet

Cabinet for the screen of our DVD player

The last time we visited the Junkyard Entertainment Unit, we focused on building a wooden cabinet for the DVD player for the the unit.

Now that we have our cabinet built, the next step is to do something for the LCD screen for the entertainment unit.

My plan is to have the entertainment unit as an "all in one" affair. More specifically, I want to have the LCD screen and DVD player to be joined together as one piece. My design vision for the screen is to give it a look of a framed picture that would "sit" on top of the DVD player. If you recall my Digital Picture Frame post from a while back, that is roughly the look I am going for.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Quick Tip - Disposable Paint Funnel

A simple one time use funnel for those painting jobs


This week I'm going to go a bit low key, in that what I am building doesn't require batteries or the creation of sawdust, it's just a simple little solution for a little pet peeve of mine. Rest assured, the soldering iron and miter saw will be back in action again soon!

Recently we gave the family room in the house a long overdue face lift. As with any remodeling job, that also entailed applying many, many coats of paint on the walls.

While I try to make sure I have the right amount of paint on hand, invariably I always seem to have a little bit left over in the paint can once the job is done.

Now I always consider having a little bit a paint left over to be a bit of a good thing, since I can always use some paint to touch any scuffs that may happen in the future. What isn't a good thing is having a little bit of paint left over in the bottom of a large paint can, since that will guarantee that the paint will eventually turn into a hard mass at the bottom of the can even if you do securely put the lid back on.

So the best way to preserve your left over paint is to put it in a smaller container, but that does present its own challenges.

The biggest challenge is that without fail, pouring paint straight from a large can into a smaller one can create a bit of a mess (especially if you tend to be clumsy like me!)

To combat the mess potential, I use a "throwaway" funnel from a 2 liter soda bottle to transfer paint from one can to another.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Project - Building a Raspberry Pi Crypto-currency Miner


Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have been in the news a fair bit recently. That caused me to start getting a bit curious, (as an IT guy) on what all the hub-bub was about.

As I started reading more about the mechanics behind Bitcoin, I learned that the fundamental backbone of crypto-currencies was the use of block chain - a concept that is becoming important in the IT world these days.

As part of learning about this, I wanted to try my hand at mining some crypto coin for myself. As part of this little experiment, I built a small crypto-currency miner out of a Raspberry Pi.

Of course, as an extra bit of added flair, I also had to build a little mining shack for it

Read about all the details here.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Computer Headset Repair, or "The Stupid Cat Did What?"

Why throw it out when you can fix it


I consider myself quite blessed that I have a job that allows me to work from home quite a bit.

One really nice thing about it is that my morning commute has been reduced from almost an hour to about 2 minutes - the only traffic jam being caused on how long the coffee maker takes to brew up a cup.

The other nice thing is that I can escape the cubicle farm and have my very own "corner office".

The key in making this all happen is that I need to have all the necessary tools to communicate with my colleagues and customers, and that's where the problems begin.

The one thing about home offices, is that sometimes "home" has a way of  blending over into "office" - especially when pets are in the home.

At my house, a few cats have decided that it's more their house than mine. While we  co-exist very amicably most of the time, they sometimes forget where the money for cat food comes from.

There's been a few occasions where during video meetings, the face that my web cam was showing was quite a bit fuzzier than mine.

Other than chairing the odd meeting for me, one of the cats has a bit of a bad habit... For you see she has a bit of a habit of treating wires and cords as her personal chew toy.  So the other day when I noticed that my headset wasn't very functional anymore, it didn't take long to find out why...