Category Archives: Daily Updates

Antique secretary laptop desk and cool retro PC mod!

I routinely use my laptop setup in my grandma’s vintage secretary. It is a gorgeous piece of furniture. Every time I sit down at it I think fondly of her. The secretary is very functional with its fold out desktop surface. I would eventually like to build (or have built) a slightly larger version that could accommodate a full PC but keep the old-school antique look. ­čÖé Curious about what exactly a secretary desk is?! Secretary desk – Wikipedia, the

Small always on green RAID system for NAS

Our family is looking to upgrade our “always on” network storage. Criteria include: energy efficiency, data protection, unobtrusive design, cost. Here is our past and future setup… Currently we use a Linksys NSLU2 with a 16GB USB flash drive. Pros: +super-low power usage (nice since we live off the grid) +compact size +simplicity +SSD (flash drive) for reliability +silent +cheap Cons: +SLOW Planned upgrade:┬áThecus N4100 Pro (2) 750GB 2.5″ 7200RPM SATA laptop hard drives Upgrade to 1GB RAM (supposed to

Two ways to save at Lowe’s and Home Depot

If you are starting a big remodeling project on your home or office here are a couple great ways to save money at Lowe’s and Home Depot! #1 Lowe’s 10% off “project starter” coupons I rarely go to Lowe’s without one of these coupons. It just does not make sense to buy without them! Save 10% on your entire purchase, up to $500 in savings per coupon (so you can use the coupon for up to $5,000 of stuff per

Why Chase 5% cashback can save you way more than Discover

I try to stay abreast of the best credit cards for getting the most cashback and the least fees/problems. For many years Discover card was my primary card, but recently the Chase Freedom cards have begun to offer WAY more perks and benefits than Discover. Here are a couple prime examples of why Chase Freedom can save you more than Discover: Get 5% back on MORE purchases with Chase Freedom… The Chase Freedom card gives you 5% back on up

“The Plan of the Master Weaver” poem

My wife brought this poem to my attention. It holds special meaning for her since she is a weaver. I feel similarly having watched her utilize her skills in working with a loom. The Plan of the Master Weaver My life is but a weaving Between the Lord and me, I may not choose the colors, He knows what they should be; For He can view the pattern Upon the upper side While I can see it only On this,

Do DC (direct current) air conditioners exist? [yes, they do exist]

UPDATED: 2011.06.16 added a new DC air conditioner producer… Recently I wrote about air-conditioning in off the grid environments. The approach I outlined uses┬ásolar panels which output DC [direct current]) and an inverter to convert to AC [alternating current] which runs a conventional air-conditioner. A commenter on twitter asked the reasonable question, what about using a DC air-conditioner instead? This is actually a great idea as it reduces the need for a heavy duty inverter and it also would be

Air conditioning using off-the-grid solar [sample setup/install]

Summary: brief article describing a setup for running a good sized air-conditioner using solar in an entirely off the grid environment. My family has lived off-the-grid for a number of years and generally it has been a wonderful experience. However, summers in Missouri can get rather warm so this year I set out to cool our entire house with AC. Previously only our bedroom was air conditioned and the other rooms had ceiling fans or stationary fans. Prior to the

My Dell M6500 and Performance Upgrades

This month I’ll be switching over from a Dell M4400 to a Dell M6500. Samantha is rocking it out with a Dell Vostro V130. They are all three excellent machines, but for my purposes the M6500 is nearly perfect. Specifically, it is: bargain priced (since the M6600 is out now) especially if refurbished via Dell Outlet (w/3 year warranty) high-enough performance (dual core 4 threads HT is enough and should minimize heat compared to quad core 8 threads) up to