Saturday, August 3, 2013

When You Should (and Shouldn't) Cosign a Loan

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Pond cleaning muck and silt dredger

012.JPGI have a spring-fed, concrete pond approx. 18' x 18' that sits at the edge of some woods and was overhung by a large walnut tree until  a storm brought that down.
Normal procedures for cleaning a pond are to drain it to remove sediment that has built up over time. Since the spring can not be controlled, emptying the pond would be a very difficult task.
I typically resort to a rake and pool net, however, this will only get you so far. The rake could get the large debris and the net the very small floating debris. The muck and silt just run through the rake or out of the net.
Well this year things just got too far along to keep working with the same old cleaning procedures. The muck and silt built up to such a depth on the bottom that they could only be removed by extraordinary measures.
Hence this Instructable.
I needed something that was somewhere between a rake and a net so as usual I looked around at my salvaged bits of materials and came up with the following.003.JPGI had an old piece of perforated aluminum plate left over from an architectural sample of a building sunscreen. 
I cut the perforated sheet with a cut-off wheel in my angle grinder and folded the sheet to make a box or basket with a bottom approx. 16" x 16" and 3 upturned sides approx. 4" high.
It was very heavy gauge aluminum, so bending was a bit difficult.
If I had to do this again, I would go find a perforated steel of thinner gauge.
The bottom of my (cement) pond is flat, so I made the front edge of the dredge straight.
I suppose the front edge could be curved to suit curved ponds.

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Gardening tote

photo-83.JPGKeep all your gardening gear together in a very inexpensive, hand decorated tote. jingle.JPGEach year during the holiday season Barnes & Noble sell a very nice heavy duty tote bags. 

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SanDisk Extreme II Series 120GB, 240GB and 480GB SSD Review

Legit Storage Reviews

It was June of last year when we had a look at the first edition of the SanDisk Extreme SSDs which was powered by what was at the time, the hottest SSD controller on the planet - the SandForce SF-2281. Times have definitely changed and while the SF-2281 controller is still very much a popular controller, there are a number compelling options available now. With that, SanDisk has decided to change things up a bit with their high performance Extreme II drives and go with the latest Marvell 88SS9187 controller which we first saw on the Crucial M500 review. It puts out some really nice numbers and in fact SanDisk has even stated that the Extreme II drives are the fastest retail drives they've outed to date.

SanDisk Extreme II

We were fortunate enough to get our hands on all three available capacities SanDisk is offering 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB. All of them see an overall performance increase over the first generation Extreme drives with the increases most pronounced on data that's incompressible which we'll see in our benchmarks. They are all also covered with a robust 5-year warranty which equals the best on the market that we could find and have a MTBF of 2,000,000 hours.

SanDisk Extreme II
Marvell 88SS9187 SSD processorSATA 6 Gb/s compliant: Backwards compliant to SATA 3 Gb/s & SATA 1.5 Gb/sATA Command Set ACS-2NCQ support up to queue depth = 32Support for TRIMS.M.A.R.T. feature supportedAdvanced Flash Management:nCache™ – Non Volatile Write CacheDynamic and Static Wear-levelingBad Block ManagementBackground Garbage CollectionAdvanced features:Tiered caching – Volatile and non-volatile cacheSupports multi stream – improves user experience in multitasking systemsMinimal write amplification – increases endurance and performanceSupport for Thermal throttling:Performance will be throttled in the event junction temperature of critical components is measured to be exceeding the maximum allowable for the productSanDisk Extreme II

The notebook bundle comes with a spacer shim for more fitment options in a variety of equipment, changing the drive height from 7mm to 9.5mm.

SanDisk Extreme II

The desktop bundle comes with a SATA 6Gbps data cable and a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter plate as well as the necessary screws for affixing to the plate. We'll have a look inside each drive now.

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Fluffy Stuff - two ingredient play-dough

What do you get when you mix shaving cream with corn starch?

You get fluffy stuff (a mold-able play-with-me dough) that could be used to make summer snowballs.

I don't know if I found a cheaper way to entertain a group of children ranging from seven to two for an hour.

Blogger mamas throughout the web rave about this stuff and I can see why! 
It was fun to make, super messy, fun to mold, fun to squish, fun to play with, and inexpensive.

Did I mention it was really messy?

Here's how we made our fluffy stuff: Dump two (2) 16-oz boxes of corn starch into a plastic container.  I used a plastic box that was about 12-inches wide by 18-inches long by about 4-inches deep.  It worked really well. Add an entire container of white foam shaving cream.  I got the one shown at the dollar store. Let the kids mix the corn starch as you add the shaving cream and be prepared with molds if desired.  My kids used the shaving cream lid as a mold an just made mountains, a race track, "snowballs" and just had an awesome time with all the good sensory play that comes out of making this concoction. It really is that easy.

You could also be prepared with a broom and a dust pan to clean up, as this stuff gets everywhere.
You can also save the fluffy stuff in a plastic zippered bag.

Some other notes (please see the photos):
As you can tell, I did this activity OUTSIDE.  Just a suggestion on my part. The kids played with the corn starch for a couple minutes before adding the shaving cream to see how it feels by itself. I needed help taking photos and spraying shaving cream into little hands as it is SO MESSY!  (That is not my hairy arm....) I've never had kids that put things in their mouth but if you have a little one that tends to do that make sure they understand that it is NOT EDIBLE. One blog post I read said that they used this "fluffy stuff" to have a summer snow ball fight.  We didn't do that this time but I may take a doubled batch of it this summer to a park to get messy and have fun before hosing off! I spent less that $4 on this activity.  The cornstarch was on sale for $0.88 each box.  In retrospect I should have bought ten (10) of them!

The mixture washes off in the bath.  I was able to save the dough for about two weeks in a plastic sealed bag, and my kids got another use of it before it ended up on the ground. 

I think the pictures of my dirty little ones say it all!
Let me know how it works out for you and have fun playing with them while they're little, as always! =)

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VermiCulture Composter Turn your kitchen scraps into Organic Fertilizer

PICT0337.JPGOk so this is apart of two ongoing projects
Recycling everything and building and maintaining a greenhouse.
So to recycle food wastes the best way i found was vermiculture! A fancy word for worms. And worms love to eat food wastes. And the best organic fertilizer is worm poop.
This instructable will show you how to make a vermicular composer, from two 5 gallon buckets!

But why is worm poop good plant fertilizer
Worms eat and digest their body weight every day, producing a 100% natural fertilizer know as worm castings or worm poop.
Worms castings are Rich in Nitrogen, Rich in Phosphates, Rich In Potash
And what's more? Worm castings can be brewed into a potent liquid form organic fertilizer and organic insecticide called Worm Tea! Wow!

2 five gallon buckets
a spout or faucet
small rocks
food scraps

tape measure
black marker
a drill
some small nuts bolts, or i used a pop rivet gun
a hack saw
spray paint (optional)

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How to Repair Busted Headphones

Have you ever had that $200 pair of headphones and your beloved happy dog chewing the cable?

Here I will show you how to repair the cable of your badly damaged headphones and basically give them another chance!

Or if you wish to do like me and save yourself $150 by buying busted headphones from ebay for about $20 and then fixing them like a pro!

(This instructable is very similar to another that I've posted, but this is in more detail and shows the whole headphones repair. )

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