Friday, October 25, 2013

Selling myself for money

I've added Google ads over there. >>

I don't like ads either, and I'm sorry.  I'd love it if one day I had a wealthy partisan that would cover my mortgage so I could make stuff and fix stuff all the time.  Until that happens, I am an indentured servant to my bank.


Update:  Sorry if this post sounds negative.  I was in a craptastic mood.  All better now.  :D

... And we're back! (Etymology of new domain name)

I've acquired a shiny new domain name,

Again, my apologies for the sudden change.  I was contacted by a chap from Australia that works for a charity organization  They asked very nicely if they could use my DoSomething.Info domain for their organization. 

I picked the new domain with the help of DomainsBot.  This is a fantastic little widget that lets you plug in a set of keywords.  Then it cross references those against a thesaurus and bounces the list against whois for many different permutations of the idea on a bunch of different TLDs.  This tool is really helpful in that it lets you quickly pop through a bunch of ideas.

In my case it reminded me of my Dad.   My Dad liked to fix things too.  I remember working on his truck and our washing machine together.  Whenever he worked on something there was always one or two screws that didn't go back in.  He always said these were the "extra parts".  Thanks Dad.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Moving Blog.

I'm moving this blog to a new domain name as-yet-to-be-determined.  My apologies for the short notice.  Effective immediately, this blog is moving to
Again, sorry about the short notice.

Update: The new address is


Friday, October 18, 2013

Making PCBs (part two of ???)

Continuing the series on constructing my first PCB,  here is a video of constructing this circuit schematic in Fritzing.

Next in the series: Laying out the PCB!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making PCBs (Part one of ???)

I've always wanted to make a PCB for something electronic.  It makes me feel like a "real" nerd.

So I'm finally going to do it.

I found this article through Hack-A-Day that said (among other things) that you can use
Testors Transparent Candy Emerald Green Spray Enamel as a solder mask that also protects the PCB traces from corroding over time.

Nurdrage's Videos on PCB Etchants was very useful in selecting an etchant.  At 3:33 he specifically talks about Copper Sulfate and Hydrochloric Acid.  I have both of these in my chemistry lab, so that's the path I chose.

The next required piece is a copper plated board.  Hello Radio shack.  

2-sided copper clad PC Board

Now I have to decide what to build.

I found this page that has a dead simple LED flasher.

 2 caps, 2 npn transistors, 2 leds,4 resistors.  It's perfect.

I'm an electronics noob.  So first I built this in the Java Circuit simulator from

It works!

Now I'm building the PCB layout in Fritzing, a Breadboarding/layout tool.  Thats the topic for the next post in this series.

What happened to Wal-mart's tool section?

I went to Wal-Mart today and was stunned.  Something magical has happened to the tool section.  They have name brand tools that don't suck!  Like serious things I would actually buy.  Specifically they have actual Crescent wrenches, Channel Locks, and Vice-Grips!  Wow!

They also had a Nicholson hacksaw that was very tempting.  I wanted one that would take short and long blades, but I might not be able to resist.

This is a huge step up for a place that only used to carry a tiny selection of disposa-tools.  Good job Wal-Mart; I'm impressed!

Now I just have to figure out when I can go so it's not so LOUD.

The Moss Experiment

I found a half-dollar sized version of moss in a Cedar glade.  It came home with me and lives in a pot now.  I hope it grows.

I'm  on an Active Directory Upgrade project right now at work.  I brought it in so we'd have something entertaining to watch during our interminable meetings.  Sadly noone got the joke.

Delicious batch file yumminess (Prompting a user for data in a batch file)

I'll soon be importing another of my blogs called "My Sysadmin Stuff".   These will be labeled with the creative tag "Sysadmin Stuff".  Here is an example of this sort of thing.

Bing sent me to the forum trying to find the magic sauce to redirect STDERR and STDOUT to the same pipe.  That is 2>&1, in case you are wondering.   Since I was there I took a look at the unanswered questions and found one.

A guy asked:
Am trying to figure out how to make a batch file that will give a prompt to enter a PC name or printer and and perform the ping ******-t command.[...]

I responded:
Like this:

@echo off
set /P Target=Please enter the name of the host to ping:
ping %Target%

If you want to be really sexy:

@echo off
set /P target=Please enter the name of the host to ping:
if "%target%"=="" (
echo A target is required, or you can press CTRL-C to cancel
goto targetprompt
ping %target%

Glad to help.
Elizabeth Greene

I like batch files.  This is fun for me.

The Walking Dead and a fantastic weekend.

Last night I watched The Walking Dead series premier at  I really like this show.  They are finally growing some food!  They need more calorie crops and to increase the size of the gardens 10-fold or more but FINALLY.

One annoyance:  The guy with the shotgun at 26:40 needs a spanking and to have his gun replaced with a pointy stick.  In less than a minute he swept his muzzle across 3 different people.  Daryl is a great character; let's not accidentally blow his legs off at the knees, okay?

I also went to the HobbyTown in Kennesaw.  This is the biggest hobby shop I've ever seen.  It's as big as a Krogers.  _Love it_.  I really wanted to buy one of the Tamiya build-a-mechanical-tank-chassis set, but I just couldn't spend the money.  I'll have a 3-d printer soon enough.  :D

On that subject my deposit has cleared and I'm ready to order parts!  The hard decision now is "Do I buy a shapeoko or a proper CNC mill?"  I know I can make stuff and money with either, and the decision has been bugging me for a while now.  #FirstWorldProblem

I haven't written about last weekend yet.  It's been on the to-do list.  Saturday I installed the Sleeve hitch on the mower and it works!  I have a couple of lessons learned from it and I'd like to make another revision.  That can wait though, as I have gardens to till!  I'd like it if it were farther away from the mower.  The tiller fender can hit the rear tires if my turn radius is too small.  I'd also like to create a better raise/lower mechanism so that I don't have to bang around under there with a wrench.  The welds deformed the inside of the pin tube such that I can't use a proper 5/8 pin without driving it in with a hammer.  Oops.  Despite the list of improvements for the next model, I'm happy with it.  I also learned something.  My shiny new Ryobi cordless drill will happily step-drill a half-dozen 5/8 inch holes in 3/16 inch metal.  By the way it was running it hadn't made a dent in the battery.  This pleases me greatly.

Also on Saturday we got a broken Riding mower from our neighbors that are moving.  It's a sexy Red Troy-Bilt.  I  can't wait to work on it tomorrow.  I also bought their tow-behind grass bagger and they gave us a broken push mower too.  I have to move this kit back to the shed this weekend or Ty will be looking for a place to hide my body. 

... And I re-potted the rubber tree.  And I replaced the kitchen water filter.  And I put grow lights on the herbs on the bar.  And I cleaned off part of the workbench.  And I put the new broken mower battery on to charge.  And I did my laundry and packed for this week.  And I taught Ty how to use the riding mower.  And I watered all the plants.  And I set out corn for the squirrels.  And I moved the extra Lattice back to the shed.  And I taught both kiddos how to shift gears on their bikes. 

I love how much can be packed in a weekend now.  Thanks Adam.  You taught me this.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gasp, Pant, Gasp

I rode the bike I fixed around a parking lot last night.  Three laps, maybe 300 yards total.  My heart was pounding.  This is a good thing. 

I need to raise the seat and handlebar.  My knees were only a couple of inches from the bars and it almost wiped me out when I bumped them. 

Being fat* sucks.

(* - Unless there is widespread famine.)

In what way is classic ASP classic?

An old friend tagged me for a quick gig last night.  They have an intranet that is written in classic ASP.   They needed some reporting changes.  Specifically to add a "Employees" column to a set of reports.

Easy enough, right?  The catch is that there can be more than one employee per case.

The solution was to put together a SQL function to return a comma separated list of Employees

CREATE function [dbo].[GetEmployeesByCaseId] (@caseid int)
returns varchar(1000)
--I return a comma separated list of Employees
assigned to a case.
--USAGE select dbo.GetEmployeesByCaseId(18715)
--Created By Elizabeth Greene 8 October 2013
--  615-280-0830

declare @EmployeeNames Varchar(1000)

select @EmployeeNames = 
   COALESCE(@EmployeeNames + ', ', '') +    
(employee_name_First,'') + ' ' +

   from EmployeeAssignment
   inner join Employee
     on EmployeeId= EmployeeAssignment_EmployeeId
     employeeAssignment.EmployeeAssignment_caseid = @caseid
 return @EmployeeNames

Then insert that function in the sql query that made the report

sql = "SELECT CaseID, Case_FileNumber, ClientID, SubjectID, Status_Name, client_name, Company_Name, Subject_State, Subject_FirstName, Subject_LastName, Subject_MiddleName, Case_DateStart, Case_DateEnd, Case_DateReopened ,dbo.GetEmployeesByCaseId(CaseId) as EmployeeName FROM [CaseListing] WHERE " ...

And finally add the column to the report


All done.

I kind of miss classic ASP; in the same way I miss my '72 Impala.  It would be nice to have it back, but only if  I didn't have to drive it.  :)

This blog is kind of plain.  I should fix that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Faster! Faster! Faster!

It's a busy time at work, and I'm not getting a lot of time at home.

This weekend I fixed a broken rocking chair.  The original factory base-to-seat bolts had backed out (over about 15 years..) and the final remaining bolt ripped the screw insert out of the wood.  This came as a shock to my son who was rocking in it at the time.  :)

I flipped it upside down and replaced the non-broken hex screw, then pilot-holed and screwed in 4 #10 x 2" Phillips head screws.  All better now.  This was my first time using my shiny new Ryobi 1+ cordless drill.  New tool sexy time!

My other accomplishment for the weekend was planting out a bunch of late summer basil seedlings and some store bought cabbages.  The basil (and a couple of Dill) were ready to set these out more than a month ago, but I've been inundated with work.  They've been sitting in a seed flat on the front porch.  Interesting factoid: my cats love dill and lettuce seedlings, and ate most of them.  :\

Ok, back to work.  I have a performance review to do.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The one were I eat brazilian, gripe about Universal, and fix a bike

Today was another lovely day.  I was at work by 8:15; that's good for me.  The AD project is coming along nicely.  Another month and we'll be done.

After work I ate an early dinner at Sabor do Brazil.  It's a Brazilian buffet here in Marietta.  It's not a traditional guys-with-swords Brazilian place, this one actually had a bar you walked up to to get your dishes.  I wanted to try everything,so I had a tablespoon of everything.  I was surprised at the seasoning of the food.  It had flavor, but not the spiciness typically associated with Central and South American dishes.  The yellow rice with beef was especially good.  There was also another chicken dish that tasted like Indian Tandoori Chicken.  Very nice.

The layout of the restaurant was confusing and chaos inducing.  I could have probably done better for my $13, but I left full and happy.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go back to the little Jamaican place?

I stopped and rented a couple of Redbox movies on the way back to the hotel.  Unfortunately, these will probably be the last movies I ever rent.  Why?  You ask.  Allow me to elucidate.

I rented Oblivion.  Fantastic movie, by the way.  Even if it was filmed with finger puppets with Carrot Top as the voice talent I still would be unable to resist a post-apocalypse sci-fi movie.  Just. Not. Possible.  On top of the story It was phantasmagoric and beautiful.  I could make a year's worth of desktop backgrounds just from hi-res screencaps.  Absolutely amazing.  I couldn't not love this movie.

I have a couple of minor science issues, but they didn't hurt the movie at all.  <spoiler>
First, do we really think that destroying the moon will cause massive destructive earthquakes and Tsunamis?  I don't think the math works there.  Maybe if big chunks of the moon fell into the ocean that would cause Tsunami.  That's much more plausible.  Something like Lucifer's Hammer perhaps?  (It's a book by Larry Nivens and Jerry Pournelle.  You should go read it yesterday. )
Second, why would you mine earth for water?  Europa is right there, has a teeny-tiny gravity well, and won't fight back.  Just sayin'.

So here's the gripe.  I finished the movie and blink into the Bonus features menu.  Time to grab some of those aforementioned screen-cap desktop backgrounds.  WTF?  Universal Pictures has, in their infinite wisdom, hacked all of the bonus materials out of the DVD.  Yes, seriously.  No, I didn't hallucinate this, you can see the screenshot.


So let me make sure I understand completely.  I can go drive to the store, pay a buck to rent the movie, drive home, watch the movie, no bonus content,  drive back, and return the movie .


I can ease on over and download one of the 50ish blu-ray torrents with no driving, no paying, and the guaranteed-delicious bonus content?

I'm libertarian enough to stand up for Universal's right to make a poor decision on what content they allow for rentals.  I'm libertarian enough to not say "The first sale doctrine should prevent Universal from arm-twisting Redbox into renting these."  Unfortunately I'm also Anarchist enough to say that hell will need a defrost Thermostat before I rent or buy another Universal movie.

Finally tonight I fixed my bike.  This was a hand-me-down.  I de-rusted and lubricated the chain and replaced a couple of cables.  It's riding-ready now.

Another day in the book and the to-do list is just as long as when I started.  It was a good day.