Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vertical Garden

387239_10200410986469428_1024526913_n.jpgI moved from a house with a huge back yard to a place with a pretty nice sized balcony.  As much as I love to garden, space was going to be a challenge as well as dealing with potted plants.  I needed my herb garden (because, who doesn't NEED fresh herbs?) but I had no desire for little pots to be taking up ground space.  Solution...build UP!  So here is my lovely vertical garden made from an upcycled wooden pallet, some recycled pots, and metal wire.  The entire thing ended up costing me about $30.


At least 1 wooden pallet
As many pots as you have plants/seeds
Potting soil
Metal wire (i used 100lb wire)
Wire cutters
4 wood screws
Outdoor paint in your favorite color
Paint brush or small roller

21296_10200406401074796_2075789184_n.jpgIf you purchase small flowers or herbs from your local nursery or garden center, you know they always come in terrible, cheap, black plastic containers.  So, first thing first...make it cute!  Get different pots of different sizes and colors, throw some potting soil in there and transplant your baby plants to them.  If you are starting from seed, this will bring color to your garden from day one!  The different colors bring life to any garden.

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Makedo Pizza Box Gramophone

Planning a pizza night in? Boy have we got a fun project for you. Here, we show you how to turn your pizza box into a Makedo Gramophone that really works.

All you need to make this amazing musical creation is a pizza box, some paper, a pencil and pin, plastic lids, an old vinyl record and Makedo parts available from mymakedo.com.

This DIY record player could damage fragile records. Although it will successfully play music, we recommend only using it on old albums that you (or your parents) won't miss if they get ruined. 
Why does this happen? It's because the pin we are using to read the record is not as delicate or sensitive as a commercial record player needle. 
We suggest buying some old records from a yard sale or thrift shop to use with your Makedo Gramophone.

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Using Your 3D Printer to Injection Mold Tiny Objects

1. 3D printer:  Any fused deposition printer will work.  You will NOT be modifying this printer, so don't be afraid of ruining it.  Also, you'll need a reel of PLA. -  ABS might work, but it's higher melt temperature makes it more difficult to keep fluid.

2. RTV Rubber: Room Temperature Vulcanizing Rubber is one of the most popular mold making materials available.  It's a stretchable rubber that can be fast curing, forgiving about undercuts and readily available.  You'll also need the catalyst to cure it, a rubber to rubber mold release, mixing sticks, mixing container and a brush.

3. Knives:  Assorted knives to cut, clean and sometimes separate the mold halves will come in handy.

4. Dowel:  I use plastic blocks to build small RTV molds and make my sprews from those, but a short piece of 1/4" dia. wooden dowel will do just as well.

5. Modeling Clay:  You can use clay made specifically for mold making, or the clay your kids use at school.  Both will work, but The better the quality clay you use, the better your results will be and the easier time you'll have.

6. Something to make a mold with:  For this application, you'll need a ceramic container to make your molds in.  A few years ago, I picked up several boxes of Ikea candle holders for $4.04.  At the time, I hadn't a clue as to what they were, but knew I'd be able to use them someday.  I was right.  If you can find these, it's like they were custom made for the job... More on that later.  

If you can't find them, a ceramic demitasse cup should work.  Be creative.

7. Something to make a mold of:  Any small object you'd like to duplicate.  Keep it small... Money is a no-no.

8. Heat Gun:  A hair drier may work, but to be on the safe side, a true heat gun will be best to get your mold up to temperature.

9.  Patience:  RTV takes hours to cure.. And you'll need to cure things twice.  There's also a high chance of an "iffy" result.  Depending on the quality of your mold, the item you choose, the length of time for the extrusion, the temperature and the equipment doing the work.

Excellent results are possible, but patience is an absolute requirement.

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Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB vs WD Black 4TB Hard Drive Review

Legit Storage Reviews

Desktop PC sales might be down, but our storage needs are increasing at a rather fast pace. When building a PC many experts often tell people to find out how much storage space they need now, then double that number for growth and then double that number again as you don't know what the future holds. Hard drive manufactures likely love that advice, but in all honesty it's not a bad way to ensure that you don't run out of space. So, if you have 1TB of data on your PC now, you might as well look at 3TB or 4TB hard drives for your next system build or secondary storage drive. The largest capacity 3.5" desktop hard drive that money can buy is 4TB. A 4TB hard drive offers a ton of storage space and is rather affordable ($180-$300) despite the fact that only HGST, Seagate and Western Digital (WD) make 4TB drives. We managed to get our hands on 4TB drives from WD and Seagate and will be comparing them against each other to see which has the best bang for the buck. The WD Black and Seagate Desktop HDD.15 are both 4TB drives with 64MB of cache, but we are going to put them to the test to see which one is right for you. 

The WD Black 4TB desktop hard drive that we are looking at today has part number WD4001FAEX, comes backed by a 5-year warranty and can be found for $290.63 shipped on Amazon. The Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB has part number ST4000DM000, a 2-year warranty and is $183.57 shipped on Amazon. Obviously, there is a pretty major price difference and warranty difference, but what about performance? Both 4TB internal 3.5" desktop hard drives use the SATA III 6Gb/s interface and have 64MB of cache, but the WD Black spins at 7200RPM and the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 spins at just 5900RPM. Our goal today is to show you the performance differences of these two drives, so let's start off by looking closer at the two drives we'll be comparing and then we will dive right into performance.


Both Seagate and WD sent over the OEM 'bare' versions of their 4TB offerings for the internal 3.5" desktop storage devices. Currently just Hitachi, Seagate and Western Digital make 4TB 3.5" drives, so you really don't have too many devices to pick from at this capacity. Since the drives are OEM versions they came in static bags with nothing else. Actually that isn't exactly correct... You can jump online and download Seagate DiscWizard to guide you through the processes of creating and formatting partitions on your disc drive, transferring data, and backing up your data. Not to be out done, WD allows you to download a similar software applications that can do that and more; Acronis True Image WD Edition, Data Lifeguard Diagnostic and WD Align Windows. You'll likely not need these programs, but if you do they are available to you for free after you register your drive online with each respective company. 


Both drives are 4TB, but they differ internally on how they reach this large capacity. WD uses five 800GB platters and Seagate uses four 1TB platters to reach 4TB. Seagate informed us that the new 1TB per platter design significantly increases the hard drive’s performance over the competition. It also consumes 35 percent less power than comparable drives on the market with 4TB capacities, so this will be an interesting matchup. On paper the WD Black looks really good with the 7200RPM spindle speed, but it has more platters and that usually slows things down! Since both of these drives have different platter counts, you might be wondering about thickness. Both the WD Black 4TB and Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB are 26.11mm or 1.028" thick.

ManufacturerWestern DigitalSeagatePower Consumption at Idle (Spec)Power Consumption in Use (Spec)Maximum Allowable Shock Level (2 ms, read)

As you can see from the specification table that we put together above there is also a power consumption difference.  This is due to the slower spindle speed and fewer numbers of platters on the Seagate drive. This usually translates over to lower temperatures and reduces sound, so we'll be looking at that when we get into benchmarking and testing the drives.


Both of these 3.5" 4TB desktop hard drives use the SATA III 6Gbps data and power interface standards. Both drives have jumpers on them, but they don't come with any as they aren't needed on modern systems. The green circuit board designs are very different as you can see, but on the side that you can't see is 64MB of DDR memory for cache and a controller that makes sure everything works harmoniously.


So, right off the bat you know the Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB costs less, has fewer platters and uses less power, which should make it quieter and cooler. The WD Black 4TB has a faster spindle speed that should translate to higher performance and a longer warranty. Hopefully you've learned quite a bit and are on the way to picking the right 4TB hard drive for your system. Now we can show you the good stuff, which is the performance number we found on our Intel Z77 powered test platform.

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ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band 802.11 AC PCIe Wireless Card Review

Legit Mobile Reviews

The ASUS PCE-AC66 is a 802.11ac Wi-Fi PCI Express adapter for desktop that allows you to to ditch the Ethernet cords and experience 802.11ac wireless speeds of up to 1.3Gbps through the 5GHz band. This is made possible because the ASUS PCE-AC66 uses Broadcom’s new 5th generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac chipset. This is three times faster than what is possible with 802.11n Wi-Fi, which is one heck of an upgrade. At the same time, the ASUS PCE-AC66 is fully backward compatibility with all previous Wi-Fi protocols, so it will easily work with the wireless router you currently own. If you are looking to get the full potential of your 802.11ac router, this is the card to get for your desktop!


The ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Adapter runs $93.99 shipped and is the only 3x3 (1300Mbps) draft 802.11ac network adapter card available on the market today. If you want to place a desktop computer in a remote part of a house or can't run a hardwired network connection due to how difficult it would be, this is the solution for you. Most USB wifi adapters are held back when it comes to performance due to the slow USB 2.0 interface and poor signal strength. Having an unreliable internet connection is very frustrating, so that is where the ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band PCI-E Adapter comes in. You just plug this card into an open PCIe slot, use the provided ASUS software to connect it to the router and you are done. The ASUS PCE-AC66 allows for Tx Power adjustment, which means you can set the transmission power of the device! You can adjust the power from 1mW all the way up to 200mW. No wonder ASUS claims that this PCI-E adapter will give you 150% more coverage than generic wireless adapters.


The back side of the ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 PCI-E Adapter retail packaging highlights some of the key features of the device and shows that it is the best adapter available from ASUS.  ASUS shows this card as having the 'ultimate' level of performance and is capable of multiple HD streams on the interference-resistant 5GHz signal.


Inside the retail packaging you'll find three dipole antennas, the external magnetic antenna base, an option low profile PCIe bracket, driver CD, warranty card and the PCIe x1 wireless LAN adapter. Everything you need to get this wireless network adapter is included!


Here is a closer look at the card, antennas and the external antenna base that allows for better adjustments for improved signal reception quality. The detachable antenna base is magnetized, so you can attach it on your PC case if it is steel or on a variety of other items.


The ASUS PCE-AC66 PCIe card uses a red PCB with an anodized red aluminum heatsink to remove heat from the Broadcom 802.11ac chipset. ASUS says that this was done to ensure the best reliability possible in all regions of the world. Lower temperatures translate into a more stable device in all climate conditions, even during hot summers, and greater stability means more consistent connectivity and longer product lifespan. ASUS is using the Broadcom BCM4360KMLG controller that is a 3-stream 802.11ac WiFi System-on-Chip (SoC) in case you are curious.


On the back side of the ASUS PCE-AC66 you'll see some more components, but nothing major or worth talking about. The most interesting thing back here is the serial number sticker, which would come in handy during the 1-year warranty period. The warranty is limited, but ASUS should cover any hardware defects you may be experience during this time.


The ASUS PCE-AC66 needs to be installed into an open PCIe expansion slot in your desktop PCs motherboard. Once you have the card mounted inside your case you just need to attach the cards three antennas. These antennas can be mounted directly to the back of the card or on a magnetic antenna base that comes with a 1 meter long cable.


Here is a look at the ASUS PCE-AC66 with the magnetic base attached to the card and the antennas attached. We tested the card in this configuration with the base sitting on top of our desktop PC case.

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How Often Do You Update Your Resume?

Whether you're actively looking for a job or not, keeping an up-to-date resume not only saves you the stress and hassle of updating it when you really need it, but also serves as a good tool for keeping an eye on your career progress. How often do you update yours?

We've talked before about not waiting for a job search to update your resume. We've also shared tips with you about how to generate more interest in your resume, whether you should go paper or online, and how to get your resume past the 6-second scan. And if that's not enough, be sure to check out our top 10 ways to rock your resume.

In the meantime, we'd like to know:

Low resolution display done right

The parts needed are:
- An LED matrix driver, I used a Rainbowduino from Seeed studio
- An RGB LED matrix compatible with the Rainbowduino
- A mini USB extension cable, used to bring out the connection from the board
- A wooden box
- Foam core board or a piece of card board
- A sheet of tracing paper
- Nylon standoffs for mounting the PCB.
- Optional: volume sensor / other amplified microphone

More details are in the attached BOM

The tools needed
- A drill
- A ruler
- A pair of scissors
- A box cutter
- A Pencil
- Paint brushes and paint
- Hot glue gun
- A screw driver

You will also need some adhesive tape.

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