Lessons Learned in the Retrieval of Ferromagnetic Objects

First, if you’re going to work on installing a light fixture above the kitchen sink, I suggest that you first cover the drain with a towel, newspaper, etc. If you disregard that advice, in the alternative I suggest that you run the garbage disposal first to clean out nasty gunk that might be lingering there. After I dropped a screw into the garbage disposal, I couldn’t initially locate it among … Continue reading

Stopping the Blichmann BeerGun Rubber Tip from Coming Loose

From the beginning, using my Blichmann BeerGun bottle filler was an exercise in frustration.  It is top heavy and I mistakenly trusted it in a heavy glass pitcher, but the weight of the beer and gas lines knocked it over and broke the pitcher: it really needs to rest in a plastic bucket on the counter or tabletop, which takes up a lot of space I don’t have to spare.  … Continue reading

Flexible Coupling to Cure Wobble on Drill-Driven Grain Mill

Since I’m a lazy brewer and make 10 gallon batches with typically over 20 pounds of grain, I use a drill to power the grain mill used to crush the grain.  Cranking the grain through by hand would take much longer.  My new 1/2″ corded drill (replacing an old 1/2″ cordless Makita with tired NiMH batteries) was powerful enough to slip off the small flat on the drive shaft, polishing … Continue reading

Homemade vs. Commercial Candi Syrup

I recently tried making some Belgian candi sugar according to the method described in Ryan Brews in preparation for brewing a strong, dark “quadrupel” type beer in the style of Westvleteren 12.  A commercial product from Candi Syrup Inc. (CSI) is purportedly very good, but I didn’t see any magic to to prevent making it at home: some amino acids from the yeast nutrient, lime as a base to prevent … Continue reading

Goodbye iPhone

My iPhone 4 was feeling a bit long in the tooth and sluggish, and with a renewal credit available through my cell carrier I decided to upgrade.  With the lack of a jailbreak available on the iPhone 5 (which I view as mandatory for such things as ad blocking), among other reasons, I decided to go back to an Android phone. Apple stymied me in two regards on my way … Continue reading

Sorting out non-responsive home button on iPhone

This morning the home button on my two year old iPhone 4 stopped working.  I tried the rebooting and the software “recalibration” fix involving going to the “slide to power off screen,” but it didn’t do anything. Some people reported that a bit of isopropyl alcohol on the button would do the trick so I put a drop or two of 91% isopropanol on the iPhone button and pressed it … Continue reading

Updating old Windows XP laptop to SSD

I keep an old tank of an IBM laptop around running Windows XP in order to talk with some legacy hardware.  A spare SSD (solid-state drive) after upgrading a different computer and thought I would install it in the beast to try and eke out a bit more performance. First I checked the performance of the existing hard drive, a 320 GB, 7200 RPM magnetic disc model.  It should be somewhat … Continue reading

Switches on hot air popper coffee roaster

The Poplite popcorn popper I’ve been using as a coffee roaster lacked even a simple power switch.  I ordered a couple of suitably-rated toggle switches and wired them in to control the power to the whole shebang as well as to switch off the heater while allowing the fan to keep blowing.  This should (1) allow for cooling of the beans in situ and (2) help cool the device between … Continue reading

Amazon appears to suggest caffeine for kids

On Amazon today this image caught my eye: Pretty interesting organic molecule, I thought. It looks kind of familiar.  I resized and sharpened the atomic drawing to make it easier to see: Some of the N and H characters are hard to distinguish if you don’t know any organic chemistry, but if you do it’s clear which is which. Anyway here’s a caffeine molecule (unlike the Amazon drawing it doesn’t … Continue reading

Great iPad case

For the last three months I’ve put a lot of heavy use into the The Joy Factory SmartSuit3 Stand/Case for the iPad. Even though I have the “white/silver” version, it’s showing almost no signs of wear or dirt after being used almost daily around the home and taken on over a dozens of flights. The magnetic wake/sleep feature works great with the latest iPad 3 and all the ports and … Continue reading