Category Archives: Tech

That Perfect Computer keyboard

k360Wow, OK , I do not want to seem like I am being completely negative but.. I AM. I have learned to hate computer keyboards. I have found over the years that a comfortable, good quality keyboard makes all the difference when you are spending more than just  a moment or two using it a day. I know when I was younger, ergonomics was something “OLD” people thought about. I now realize that it is not “OLD” but rather smart people that think about these types of things. Here are some of the things that I would love to see in a keyboard that as of now I cannot seem to find:

1-    Short throw keys. The more your fingers have to move to depress the keys, the more fatigue and strain. Laptops seem to have this figured out  but are lacking in other areas.

2-    Wrist supports. For the purpose of not having problems like tendinitis or other wrist problems. You have to have proper support. I know that you can buy an additional wrist supports but that is just one more thing to take up space and have to move when adjusting your desk to accommodate projects.

3-    No heat. Like I said, laptops have perfect amounts of throw but, because of the electronics, there is a lot of heat coming from the keys and wrist rests. This also makes it super uncomfortable and hard to use for long a duration of time.

4-    Full keyboard. I know that some people will argue with me, and I understand. A lot of people don’t use their 10-key  but I do. I want a keyboard that has it all because I do it all.

5-    Sleek. Just because I want a 10-key and short throw keys does not mean it needs to be huge and clunky, nor do I want have several pieces all over the desk to make a complete unit. Because I do it all, I am often sliding my keyboard around the desk to accommodate projects, paper for sketches for ideas, or any other thing that happens to fall on my plate.

I can tell you this, from my experience, Logitech seems to be the closest to what I am looking for and maybe some day they will come across this and make a product that is what I am looking for… I have been trying out the K360 and it is pretty good but I would make a few changes to accommodate the criteria I mentioned above.. for a long time I have been using the MK700/MK710. I love it. I like the layout but it is a bit big, I do believe that it could be reduced a bit and still keep that layout. Also the throw on the keys is a bit deep and because of the way it is constructed, it does start to have “Sticky keys” that wont depress when typing quickly because they use a plastic on plastic sliding system.

I really don’t know if this is suppose to be a review of what I use or if this is just me Venting ( probably just venting) but I thought that this may be helpfull to others that face the same problem.. If I do find the PERFECT fit. I will let you know and get a review out on it quickly. in the meanwhile, you have questions about the hardware that I am currently using, please feel free to ask.

These are the Keyboards I was referring to if you would like one click here to support my page

 

Appliance repair

appiliance repair

Today’s views on appliances may have changed from what they were 15-20 years ago but, there are still a few of us out there that want to and realize that repairing what we have is often less costly and gives us a more reliable unit. This whole post is sparked from my experience trying to get a part for my whirlpool drier. Now of course I did look online and found the specific part (3399878) on Amazon for half the price ($11.49) in a kit but, the shipping would mean I had to wait 2 days to get it. So, I started calling around to find the best deal I could locally. I ALWAYS start with the main location, in this case a Sears Parts center(Sears Parts & Repair 971 W Center St Provo, UT 84601), to get a foundation price. They quoted me $29,##. As I called around I found a place that had the “same” part for $20 (Best Buy Appliance – 665 N State St Orem, UT 84057) and $10(Appliances Repair Center – 354 N State St Orem, UT 84057.. )

Now the obvious choice would be the $10 right? Well… he was currently moving store locations and was working out of his home. He offered to meet me somewhere but seemed really (and understandably from his side) hesitant to have me come there (red flag). I understand his position but without a place that I can go to in a warranty situation I could just not go forward with it. So I set my sights on the place that had it for $20. I really should have gotten the clue when I called because when I called, I told him I was looking to see if he had a part in stock. He asked what the part was and so, I started giving him the part number “3399..”. Mid number, he interrupted me and asked no, what part is it. I thought, Oh, he needs to narrow his search in his books by general part first.(understandable right?) so, I told him it was a thermal cut out fuse. Immediately he said, yup we have it, it’s about $20. Really?? I thought, how would he know which one out of all of the variations out there?.. oh well it was closer than sears and less expensive so I told him I would be there about noon while on my lunch break. Now I did google this place first and it had several 5 star reviews and one 1 star review ( all of which I read). And my outlook was, this must be a diamond in the wroth. Lunch time came and I rushed off to get my part so I would still have enough time to get gas in my buggy and eat. Best Buy AppilianceWhen  I got there I first thought “ wow this better be one good diamond!” well, not really, it was “ what no parking at all?”. There were several washers and driers out front which when I walked in, I realized were the ones cleared out to make room enough to make a path from the door to the counter.. the rest of the “sales floor” was completely filled with half assembled appliances that were nasty by appearance to match the rest of the décor (or clutter) of the store and that was just my initial impression. There was another customer so I looked around while I waited and listened to the conversation. He seemed a little pushy toward a service sale over straight forward advice. As I wandered, I noticed sighs everywhere “NO REFUNDS”, “NO EXCHANGES”,”NO RETURNS”, “NO WARRANTIES”. Hidden behind one of the nasty fridges was a sign that said “20% restocking fee on all returns” which seemed odd considering there were “NO RETURNS” When it was my turn, I showed him the part I needed. He tested it to be sure ( that is a good thing)  and then went to digging through several apparently unorganized parts boxes. After calling and asking several questions to the person on the other end of the line about my part for several minutes, he came back with 2 bags. One had a part that looked nothing like the one I had, and another one that was the kit for the one I needed and one other part. The kit was , if I recall correctly $38 through him but, he assured me that the one by its self was the right part (even though you could tell he wasn’t quite sure himself). I said “OK but if this is not the right part can I return it?”. “No”, he said, “there are no returns, once you are out the door it is yours”.. Humm he’s not SURE that it is the right part but if it’s not, he will not take it back either.. Fine! I need to get back to work.. I pulled out my debit card and… “sorry cash only”.. OK I’ll have to go get some money. I left, got some gas, and went to Sears, nuff said.
Sears repair centerOn the way to sears, I had forgotten to grab my part.. “crap I thought.. well I still have the part # on my phone, I should be OK”. When I  got there, it was clean (like you would expect) I kindly waited in line and when it was my turn I told them I needed to get a thermal fuse for my drier. The associate on the next line says “ oh yea, I have not pulled that one yet but it is “ .. and proceeded to tell the person helping me exactly where it was at. When they brought the part out, I realized it was the kit, for about the same price as the other place was trying to sell me the wrong part for. I asked about the return policy and they indicated if the bag is opened (so you could do a rough test fit without opening it)  they would not take it back for a refund but, if the part is installed, works, and then goes bad within a specified time, they are more than happy to exchange it for a new one. If the bag was still sealed, they would also be willing to offer a refund.  I got the part and was on my way with the correct part and a return policy to boot.

Lesson learned: not always is the less expensive part really less expensive.

If you would like to see more reviews like this  “on the spot reviews” post..  let me know if there is anywhere you would like me to check out and review as well. (all reviews are not bought but are just as I experience it)

A Mechanics Car

montanaRecently I had some time to spend with a focus on my own cars.. it is funny, having the skills to perform required repairs to your own vehicles doesn’t meant that they actually happen.  I have always prided myself on my cars being well maintained but as time has gone on and time seems to move faster, the time to keep up on this seems to elude me. My wife’s van has (fortunately for me) been mostly reliable and requiring very little work but with the registration being due,  there were some things that I had been putting off that had to be dealt with.  Although none of them were (BIG) or so I thought, they were more just time. An alternator was begging for replacement, the electrical was acting up (it was like random flickering of Christmas lights when you applied the brake with the right hand turn signal on). And the dreaded Check engine light was on with a PO440 code (EVAP problem) I knew that the fuel sending unit was acting up because the fuel gauge was acting up.

I braced for the impact on my time and wallet as I cleared space in the shop to be able to work on it with some level of comfort.  The Engine was warm the with the first attempt so I started with the electrical. As I inspected the Right rear light assembly I noticed that the ground connection was burnt/charred so the assumption that the ground connection was insufficient for the demand (common problem on these vehicles) so I immediately dug into adding a larger ground connection as shown below:

 

As I was re-assembling the assembly, I noticed that a few of the bulbs were the wrong ones.. simply by correcting them, they began to work correctly. “its getting the new ground anyway, I’m already done!”. I moved on to the front where I found that one of the twist lock light sockets had disintegrated. Although this would seem like a small problem it was a bit tricky finding replacements, mostly due to the lack of having a uniform naming process in parts stores systems..  The first one I found, and it was only one of the 2 I needed, was $47.00..  later I was able to match one up at AZ for $13.00 so that is the direction I went. After re-wiring the first one, there was another problem.. the Ground connection somewhere to that and the driver side headlight was not connecting properly. This was causing the drivers headlight to be dim as well as flash in relation to the blinker. Adding a good ground there made a huge difference and I was starting to fee l accomplished.

The next fix was the Alternator, usually a easy fix but not on this one. There are 2 ways of pulling the alternator off of these. 1-remove the entire windshield wiper assembly, washer fluid tank and get it out that way or 2- undo 2 of the sub frame bolts and lower the entire motor a few inches to get it to clear that way. I went for lowering the motor. Its amazing what 1” can do to hinder a project. After breaking an aluminum bracket, it was out.. fortunately this was an opportunity to rag on my wife about needing a tig welder when I had a friend use his to weld the bracket back together. It is on the shopping list now, problem is determining where on the list it needs to be.

I will say 2 things that will help you. When you are tired, quit. Your mind no longer looks at things in such a way that it can solve problems and causes you to keep trying the same thing that has not worked the last 100 times. Second, lift up the van from both sides when lowering the sub frame.. it will prevent the body from twisting and make it a lot easier to get the bolts back in.

The nice part about all of the frustration on the Alternator is that while I was staring (glaring) in frustration I noticed a hose fitting that had broken off of the EVAP purge valve that was quickly repaired with a bit if heat shrink tube and JB weld.  So far that repair has shown to have solved the problem without replacing the fuel pump so.. that has resulted well.

Now that everything is fixed we are playing the waiting game. No matter how much you fix. The computer must confirm that it is all fixed and sometimes that takes some time and many miles.. Hopefully that will be accomplished soon!

Actual update for 7/20/14

guess what this is!

I have to admit the entire week of the 4th revolved around the 3-day weekend. All week we were focused on cleaning things up and trying to do even more spring cleaning. I know it is no longer spring but there is so much cleaning and organizing that needs to be done. Merging two households into one house is one thing but, we have been merging two shops into one as well on top of trying to finish construction work on it. I am happy to say much of the “online yard sale” has been going relatively quickly. Not for the amount that we had hoped but at this stage of the game I feel it is more important to just get it out of the way for my mother in law and simplify our lives. I do have to say, having so much cleaned out, we are gaining usable space in both the house and the garage and I really look forward to being able to start seriously working on some projects that are wants and not so much needs. In fact one of the wants and needs has already begun, an old swamp cooler from our rental house had begun the process of being refurbished and will be installed on the shop making the shop functional in the heat of the day whereas up until now, we have been “hibernating” from about 8:00 am to 8:00 pm to avoid the heat and, the garage is one of the worst places because it collects the heat. There is a lot going into this where I plan on leaving it for a long time. The pictures below are the progress so far.  That has been our main goal this whole last week, trying to beat the heat and get the cooling on the house and shop resolved.

 

Our new renter has started moving in, I visited for the first time recently so that I could finish a repair on the dryer and see how everything is going. From what I could see there was a lot of stuff everywhere still (to be expected) but there was already indications that they were making an effort to take care of things. It is still early but at this point I am excited to see that we might just have a good renter. I do know that there is still a ton that needs to be done to the house to get it where I really want it to be but, there is only so much time and so many funds to complete it all available.

As for the 4th. that is a big topic this time of year for a lot of people but I do not know why. This will be a topic for another day but just to get you thinking, what are we celebrating our independence from? And are we still independent from this? Not necessarily speaking about the country but the idea? . I did find that having a small party with some close family and friends was more fun than a big “Traditional get together”. Maybe it is just me but, I do not enjoy the family politics caused when the large family groups are together in crowds. I have found it to be much more enjoyable when  I am with a smaller group. The Night of the 4th, we had a my in-laws and some neighbors over to do fireworks. I will admit, I felt at home that night than I have in a long time which, I enjoyed very much (Thank you to those that we shared that time with).

The  week of the 6th there was a lot of camping and more family time. Although my work schedule would not permit me to take much time off. I was able to go up Saturday with my family and go for a hike. We hiked 3.5 miles round trip from Maple lake to Red lake up the canyon from Payson UT. I have to say, I have known for some time I was not in the shape I would have liked to have been in but that was RIDICULOUS! Granted there was several steep ups and downs on this hike but my legs burned for 3 days after.. them there muscles had not been worked like that in a long time and it was apparent! It was fun though because Chug was able to go with us and did really well with her new training leash (I will do a review on this soon because I have found it to be a very humane way to train a dog to not pull on the leash)

in closing, my hat is off to the owner of this creation for their creativity. I know this is massively redneck but that is what I love. If this is yours be sure to comment and let me know.. thanks!

cool car of the ??

May 5, 2014 The passing of a friend

20140523_124426

As mentioned before, it is hard to see a friend and family member pass. This last Tuesday my father in law passed from this life to the next.. leading up to the funeral we took time to make the arrangements but, we also spent time working in the garage and yard. Our goal was to feel productive and try getting our lives back in order from the last 6 months of irregular life. (the garage is getting that much closer to being productive in fact I started working on two smaller projects ( I will touch on those in a later post)

I will admit, the Funeral was harder than I expected. For the viewings, there was so many people that it was easy to avoid thinking about it as I could occupy my mind with “what are the kids doing”, “do I know ANY of these people?”,”where am I suppose to be and what am I suppose to be doing?” and so on. but as we wen to the funeral service we were, of coarse, sat on the front row with the casket smack in front of us.. I could still kinda hold it in and only let a little out.  At the grave side service however, my Brother in law was performing the military honors and watching him struggle to hold it in, I could no longer..  the day after the funeral, we went back to the grave site and it went back to the surreal feeling like none of it had happened. below are some of the pictures taken at the event

March 16, 2014 Its nice to be home

It is defiantly a nice thing to be “Home” now you might wonder where I have been.. Right? I have been home the entire time but with the construction it everything has felt like we were in limbo. I am not sure if I mentioned this but, when we moved here about a year ago it was only suppose to be temporary. I had just lost my job and went right to work with my father-in-law until something came along. It was July when the job I have now came along and by then all of our savings had been depleted so we decided to hang out a while so we would feel more stable. In November we decided that we would rent a home in Provo/Orem near my work. Lots of looking trying to find a house that would fit our needs (bit garage!) and all at once we found what we wanted and felt comfortable that we could talk them down to the price we could afford. The day we were scheduled to see it and sign papers, was the day that my Father-in-laws health took a horrific dive and we found out he had a Brain tumor. At that point we decided buying there house was what we were suppose to do. From that moment on we were retrofitting the house to fit us on a more permanent basis. Its still not perfect but it is beginning to feel like home..

Here is the update on the projects:
Kids Bedroom: DONE!!! yes, that is correct it is done, kids are moved in, and off my agenda! Now I did have to do a really crazy trick to get the tack strip to stay down (if you want to know what the trick is, leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will put together a vid showing how to do it) but here are the pictures of how it turned out:

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Now I know that the Trim around the door is not done, there is a reason for that. (none of the house has any) and we have not decided how we want. As soon as that decision is made it will happen. we still have cabinets we want to put up in the hall and some other minor touches but it is to where we can use it and move on..

Garage: Yes! I did say garage. This one has been hanging over us for some time because doing projects where there is not a good accessible way to get to tools in there has caused a nightmare of all nightmares! That and missing the Moab meetup on the dirt bike because of the Un-running bike, I need room to start working on it and need space for that..

here is the list of to do’s
1- build shelf for long term storage – (in progress)
2- Move stuff to shelf
3- seal floor
4- rearrange shop for maximum space usage
5- electrical (lighting and plugs ect…
6- (really have not planned in detail this far ahead)

here is what we got so far:

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More to come.. stay tuned
(if you haven’t already – be sure to subscribe on the right side to be sure not to miss the latest post)

Feb 16, 2014 Rocks and more Rocks

What a week it has been. Valentines Day, Slow at work and a lot to do at home. because of this, we have done all that we can to make this project keep moving along and it has done just that! Fortunately for me the Girls have agreed to do the mudding, sanding and painting on this project allowing me some well needed down time.. Although I was not full fledged sick this last week, it is apparent I have been fighting something off..  with a constant headache and a cough, it is just enough to make a person tired and cranky (not that I would ever be cranky)

That rest did not last long though, and that is just fine with me.. Friday evening I got a call that I was looking forward to.. My wonderful neighbor has been able to secure the “ditch witch”.  I was excited to “hurry” and get the wire in the ground. To my surprise, **wink wink* this was not a “hurry process” since there was in the ground to be dug, a whopping 75% rock and less than 25% dirt.. it took several hours and much work to get the trench dug..  toward the end of the show we had to rotate the machine around and dig back to meet the existing trench. That was yet another failure as the one and only place that was sandy decided to give way and allow the ditch witch to inspect its own depth that it dug. I will also admit that there were a few more hiccups in the process which I will share later.. Just keep your eyes peeled for that later on..

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As for Valentines day. That is its own subject.. it is just another day. I still had to work nothing was really changed from any other day so.. nothing to report special..

Computer Questions

This is just a quick post asking for any additional information and assistance.. I am preparing to build a computer for doing videos and design.. If you are a Techie please look this over and let me know if there is anything better/cheaper/ect.. thanks!

PART DISC COST
HARD DRIVE 1  Seagate Barracuda 2 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST2000DM001 86.49
HARD DRIVE 2  Seagate Barracuda 2 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST2000DM001 86.49
HARD DRIVE 3
SOLID STATE Kingston Digital 240GB SSDNow V300 SATA 3 2.5 (7mm height) with Adapter Solid State Drive SV300S37A/240G sata 6 148.7
PROCESSOR Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.5 GHZ 8 MB Cache BX80646I74770K 319.99
RAM G.skill Ripjaws X Series 16gb (4 X 4gb) 240-pin Ddr3 Sdram Ddr3 1600 (Pc3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800cl9q… 174.99
VIDEO CARD ASUS Graphic Cards GTX660-DC2O-2GD5 199.99
MOTHER BOARD Gigabyte Intel Z77 Dual Thunderbolt ATX Motherboard (GA-Z77X-UP4-TH) 189.99
COOLING Cooler Master Hyper N520 – CPU Cooler with Copper Base and 5 Heat Pipes (RR-920-N520-GP) 33.99
TOWER Silverstone Tek ATX, Micro-ATX Computer Mid Tower Case Black, (RL01B-USB 3.0) 44.99
POWER SUPPILY Corsair RM Series 650 Watt ATX/EPS 80PLUS Gold-Certified Power Supply – CP-9020054-NA RM650 109.98
TOTAL 1395.6

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