Category Archives: General Information

Headlight refresh

I have an old car, a 2002 Lexus SC430. It looks like this: (older pic from a couple of months ago)

I’m pretty happy with it over all, it’s fun to drive. My only big complaint looks-wise were the headlights. They were yellowed from existing in the desert for almost 19 years. Here’s what they looked like this morning: (this is after being cleaned with a de-greaser and Windex)

So after some internet searching I found this stuff:

Basically put a generous amount on a soft cloth, and rub it in for three minutes. Then let it dry for a minute and it’ll look like this:

Then get a CLEAN, DIFFERENT cloth, and wipe off the haze, and you get pretty good results:

Keep in mind these look good enough, especially when you check Amazon to see how much it is to replace the headlight assembly. This is for just one side:

Outside Cat Box Project

In our new house Monica and I decided to build something to get the cat’s litter box outside. I bought a large storage box you might use for seat cushions, towels, or whatever around a swimming pool. Then I modified it for use as a an outdoor cat box.

Step one, drill a hole in the wall, then use a jig saw to shape up a nice opening.

Now I take some 1×10 and build a box to jam in the wall.

Now I cut from the other side, and cram the box in.

Now I cut a hole in my giant storage container.

Now just slide the storage container over the box, and add a litter box to the inside.

Final step, add a swinging cat door to the inside wall.

This whole deal seems to have worked out pretty well. I have more to do, but it’ll work for now. Next I’ll add a light to inside of container, and I’ll paint the wood and maybe build a platform inside the container.

Barcade Project

There is text between pictures.

This post is just to document some progress on the new arcade system I’m building.  This way I won’t lose the pictures I’ve taken.  🙂

So, I started by ordering a kit of CNC cut MDF, which is a short cut for those of us with little patience.  It basically just arrives as a box of wood:

Box of Wood

Using a kreg jig,  self-tapping screws, wood glue, etc, I started to have something resembling a bartop arcade box:

Stack of wood

Using jig to cut recessed screw holes

Beauty looking to play some Frogger.

Next deal was to take an old 19″ LCD monitor, and remove the panel from the plastic housing.  I took out all the screws I could find, but ended up busting the case into pieces anyway.  Doesn’t matter, this thing will never be a computer monitor again.  Used some pieces of 1×2 to build up a support on the back, then attached the monitor to the MDF piece which fits in the cabinet:

Stacking wood on top of panel screw hole

Two mounting points ready

Monitor attached to MDF backer board

Monitor temporarily in place to see if it fits.

At this point it was time to finally start building the control panel.  I bought two Sanwa joysticks from Japan, and a bunch of Happ arcade buttons.  These are the same hardware they use to make Ms Pacman and Galaga.

My trusty soldering iron

One wire soldered, many to go.

Inserted one joystick and one button into control panel:  (Monica was kind enough to paint the control panel black for me.  If I had done it there would be runs and strange lines and smudges.)

Under control panel is ugly.

Installed the other joystick, and all the buttons.  Pictures show completed setup, then hardware underneath, then everything wired together into a USB controller.  God help me if any of that doesn’t work right.

It’s so pretty…

Buttons with micro-switches attached.

Wires, wires, wires. Wires.

Here it is before and after a coat of black paint:

After that I finally cut/painted the Plexiglas so you can’t see the edges of the monitor:

Last two steps will be the marquee and the back door.

Edgerouter Lite review

2015-06-05 10_20_02-Ubiquiti Networks - EdgeRouterâ„¢ Lite

In the last few months I noticed that if I needed to download a file the best speed I could manage was about 7 MB/s.  I had a new cable modem, and a gigabit switch, so I figured my old router was to blame.  The old router has a 100 MB port, and is kind of ancient, so it probably just couldn’t keep up if I’m downloading a file, while someone else is streaming something, playing video games, etc.

Enter the Edgerouter Lite.

This is a one-task type of device.  It’s doesn’t provide wireless, it’s too small to be your main switch, it’s only for routing internet traffic.

The first thing I noticed when I powered it up is that it was running a firmware that was way behind what was currently available.  The GUI did not provide a way to update the firmware, it had to be done at the command line.  This entailed setting up a small web server on my laptop so the firmware could be downloaded to the router.  Kind of a pain, but once I had the latest and greatest I could update through the gui from now on.

The initial setup was not as easy as a consumer-type of router.  There is a wizard you go through that will get you most of the way there, but of course my home network is different than most so I had to make some adjustments.

First off, the wizard forces you to use as your gateway for LAN.  That would be fine, except every device in my home is on 192.168.2.x.  Changing the router to use the correct subnet should be easy, but there was some confusion.  The 3rd ethernet port was for some reason set to my preferred subnet by default, and so the router complained when I tried to make the change.  Took me a while to figure that out and simply disable the 3rd port, which I won’t end up using anyway.

I run a few services on my home server that need to be accessible from the internet, hence I forward ports.  Setting up the port forwarding was mostly straightforward.

Once I had it all configured, I unplugged my old router from the home network, plugged the new one in.  Right away my server could see the new router, but I had no internet access.  I figure the firewall is probably setup wrong, or DNS.  So I spent about 20 minutes checking this and that, restarting services on the router, etc.  Turns out the fix was simply rebooting my cable modem.  🙂

After that it was all good. My download speeds jumped to over 12 MB/s, and even while that was going on I could browse the internet, send email, use youtube, etc, with no slow down.

I only have about 12 hours in, but if you are an advanced user and need the throughput, I can recommend the EdgeRouter Lite.  It has many features I haven’t gotten around to yet, such as QOS, VPN tunneling, etc.

See below for some GUI screenshots.

2015-06-05 08_04_48-EdgeOS 2015-06-05 08_05_19-EdgeOS - ubnt 2015-06-05 08_05_54-EdgeOS - ubnt 2015-06-05 08_06_11-EdgeOS - ubnt 2015-06-05 08_06_38-EdgeOS - ubnt

Dallas – Update

So yesterday during the seeding round we managed to score 10 out of 15 possible points.  That should be more than enough to put us on the championship board tomorrow.  Today we have off while the singles events are running, so Charlie, Paul and I took a small side trip to the Dallas World Aquarium which is nearby.  Also went and saw where JFK was assassinated.  (I was surprised at how close the shooter was to the car.)

Some pics (and videos) below of the trip so far, some from the tournament, a few from today.  Videos at bottom of page.

Grassy knoll (Medium) Hotel (Medium) aquarium (3) (Medium) Aquarium sloth (Medium) tourney (Medium) aquarium (Medium) Paul aquarium (Medium) Ron Tourney (Medium) Lance Tourney (Medium) Chad Charlie (Medium) aquarium (2) (Medium) Paul Tourney (Medium) room (2) (Medium) room (3) (Medium) room (Medium)