Blocking Ads under iOS

I always aim to jailbreak any iOS device I have (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.). Primarily I do this because I believe consumers should have full control of the hardware they own, without having to operate under the constraints of the Apple nanny. Also, jailbreaking is the only way to effectively block distracting advertisements that eat mobile bandwidth. The AdBlock app on Cydia (the “app store” for jailbroken devices) only seems … Continue reading

Repair of faulty flush valve

One of our toilets stopped working reliably – the culprit seemed to be the valve that fills up the top tank (AKA the fill valve or flush valve), as it wouldn’t consistently open to fill the tank after flushing. This water-saving valve seemed like a good choice and it’s inexpensive to boot. Installation was easy, involving just a quick shut off of the water supply to the toilet, unscrewing the … Continue reading

Recirculating with an Immersion Chiller

I’ve already mentioned my new homebrewing system.  One feature I made sure to include was recirculating the wort with an immersion chiller.  Like a counterflow or plate chiller, this provides for very efficient cooling.  But it retains the advantages of an immersion chiller regarding easy sanitation, by dropping the chiller into the boiling wort for a few minutes.  The key is a pump to recirculate the hot wort over the … Continue reading

Growing barley for malting

After growing hops for a few years, I thought I would try growing some two-row Conlon barley to have a go at turning it into malt for brewing.  I probably won’t get a lot of product, but it should be a neat experience. Not surprisingly, the seed looks very similar to malted barley grain.  I’ve planted most of this pound in a few stray spaces in the garden.   We’ll see … Continue reading

Philips LED light bulb

Always keen on being on the bleeding edge of technology, I bought an LED light bulb despite the relatively high cost.  Namely, it’s Philips Dimmable AmbientLED 12.5-Watt A19 Light Bulb (model # 409904 / 423343). First impression: as Public Enemy once said “my Uzi weighs a ton.” Actually it has a weight of 6.2 ounces (mass of 176 grams) – much heavier than an incandescent or fluorescent bulb, but probably … Continue reading

Foreflight and the new iPad

I was excited to try the Foreflight app with the latest iPad 3 having a “retina” display with 2048×1536 resolution, four times as many pixels as the old hardware. Version 4.4.2 of Foreflight was at least partially updated for the new iPad, but still wasn’t optimized as you can see in the below images.  The problem is, at some zoom levels of the charts,  the display uses chunky graphics instead … Continue reading

Rancilio Silvia Portafilter Gasket Replacement

Poort Miss Silvia was still laboring with the original brew system gasket that seals the portafilter against the body of the machine.  After six years of almost daily use, a replacement was in order as it was prone to leaks. I knew the old gasket would be difficult to remove but I had a few dental pick style tools ready.  This is what it looked like after removing the diffusion … Continue reading

Recovering lost photos from an iTunes backup

So I carelessly wiped clean my old iPad before copying all the photos from it.  A lot of them did not exist elsewhere (transferred from a digital camera and then cleared the memory card), so I wanted to recover them.  There was an iTunes backup of the iPad still on my Windows 7 computer, in a folder under c:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup Some paid software offered to make it easy on me, … Continue reading