This mini air compressor is going to extend my lifespan!

Share

Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster

I used to spend tons of money on canned air. I use it to clean my keyboard, to clean the inside of my computer, to blow out the clinging dust from my bag-less vacuum cleaner, and a lot of other things. Canned air is expensive, it really ads up, and it’s really toxic….People even huff it to get high, and it causes brain damage. Not something I want to use in my home.

When I go to WalMart weekly with my wife (Which we call “hunting”, because we read somewhere that cats think you’re out hunting when you work and shop,  because you’re gone all day and you always have lots of treats for them), I usually grab a magazine from the racks, read it while she shops, then put it back before we leave. In some gun magazine I ran across an ad for the Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster (Available on Amazon, HERE.)

At 50 bucks, it will pay for itself in me not buying canned air in about six months. It does seem louder than a jet engine (I wear ear plugs) and does get warm quickly (it even says that in the user’s manual) but it gets the job done, without poisoning you or your kitties. It has a 12-foot AC cable, which is enough for most uses, and I just add an extension cord for more. It’s made in the USA by a company that’s been in business for generations. It’s solid steel and built like a tank.

I love it I love it I love it!

MWD

Posted in Tools | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on This mini air compressor is going to extend my lifespan!

Darned Optimum

Share

Downed Optimum cable 1

Ever since Optimum Online (a New York City company) took over Bresnen (a local area company here in Wyoming that did a good job), our TV service has been wonkie, our Internet has been intermittent and our phone service scratchy and sometimes not working at all. They’ve also been throttling BitTorrent, which I use to legally share media I create.

But the final straw that I think is going to make me switch to one of their competitors is that it took them FOUR DAYS to come out and fix a downed cable. Friday night, the wild, wooly Wyoming wind blew down the cable that supplies my DSL, land line phone and cable TV. I called them every day for that four days, and every day, after waiting for an interminable period and repeating all my personal information, they said “Someone will be out today.” Sure, one of those days WAS New Years’, but still, they told me they’d come and they didn’t until today.

And it wasn’t just my service, this cable was down in the alley, and provides service to the whole block.

Fortunately, my service was not interpreted, but that’s got nothing to do with Optimum and everything to do with the fact that Casper, Wyoming is not heavily populated and people are alert, respectful and polite. If this had happened when we lived in California, the downed cable would have been destroyed by a speeding car, or harvested by meth heads to sell for the copper. I can tell by the lack of tracks in the snow that no one drove over it in the alley. It looks like one or two cars started down the alley, but saw the wire and turned around.

Downed optimum cable

Downed optimum cable

Downed optimum cable in the alley

Downed optimum cable in the alley

Posted in Tools | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Heavy Inspiration for the Boondocks Theme Song

Share

When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, whenever I went to the local movie theater, there was this 20-second or so motion logo with some really hip music that would play after the trailers and before the main feature. If we  were still at the concession stand or hanging out in the lobby, as soon we heard this groovy beat, we’d run into the theater to sit down. The visual of this logo was swirling colors (I’ve put a still of it behind Riley from the Boondocks in the image I Photoshopped, above.)

This was literally the first “hip” “groovy” music I ever heard in my life, and was also the first “psychedelic light show” type imagery I ever saw. After I grew up and went to theaters that did not use this logo (or when the logo was replaced by other things, mainly more trailers), I often thought about it. It somehow had an important place in my mind. Even in my 40s, I could still hum the melody I hadn’t heard since I was 8, and I always wondered what this motion logo was.

A few years ago I discovered the animated show The Boondocks, and I love it. Neema lent me all the DVDs, and even after watching them all three or four times, whenever my wife and I are channel flipping and there is a Boondocks episode on, we watch it. The excellent theme song for the Boondocks (by the very talented rapper Asheru) contains a horn line that seems to be heavily inspired by a horn line from that 70s movie theater animation logo.

This got me thinking about the motion logo again. What was it? Who made it? Was it in all theaters or only mine? I’m assuming all, but as a kid I didn’t travel much and really thought of my tiny town as the whole world.

That theater has long been torn down and replaced with a statue of Habeas Corpus suspender and first Republican Abraham Lincoln with Grace Bedell. Grace is the little girl who famously told Lincoln to grow his beard. Grace was from my tiny town, Westfield, New York.

Abraham Lincoln and Grace Bedell statue in Westfield, New York

Grace Bedell was about the only claim to fame we had, except Westfield also being the birthplace of Welches Grape Juice.

Lucille Ball and Natalie Merchant were from our county, but not our town.

The other night I was surfing around YouTube and watched a trailer from a 70s biopic on the legendary and murderous blues singer Lead Belly. (Yes, Lead Belly is properly spelled as two words, not one. The man himself spelled it with two words.) At the end of the trailer, someone had added THE MOTION LOGO FROM THE 70s that had been so important to me as a kid. I was elated! I finally found it! It actually exists and I didn’t imagine it!

Here’s a direct link to the motion logo at the end of the Lead Belly trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48aQbh1lV1s&feature=player_detailpage#t=324s

(That link should take you directly to where the logo starts. If it doesn’t, and starts and the beginning of the trailer, scroll over to the last 20 seconds of the video.) Someone has added text over the logo on the YouTube video, that text was not in the theater version. Obviously,…it’s a Web URL for a DVD company. Web URLs and DVDs did not yet exist in the 70s. Which is why I went to movie theaters as a kid!

For comparison to the much later Boondocks theme song, here’s a direct link to the horn line I think was inspired by the 70s motion logo horn line:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgRGpbVYZz0&feature=player_detailpage#t=30s

(If that doesn’t take you to the direct spot, the line comes up over and over in the song, it’s the descending horn part after the ascending piano part.)

I still don’t know what that 70s logo animation was, or who owned it. I think Quentin Tarantino may have purchased the rights to it, someone said he’s used it on some of his DVDs. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t liked him since Pulp Fiction.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this nifty little revelation with you.

Before I go, another thing I really love about the Boondocks Theme Song is the reference to the concept “The Four Boxes of Liberty“, with the lines

I am the ballot in your box
The bullet in your gun

Neema and I are fond of the concept of  The Four Boxes of Liberty, and have discussed it in the Freedom Feens Podcast, in this episode.

–Michael W. Dean

 

Posted in Liberty | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Heavy Inspiration for the Boondocks Theme Song

How To Bypass BitTorrent Throttling, step-by-step settings

Share

Open Floodgates for BitTorrent

A lot of ISPs throttle BitTorrent traffic: Charter, AT&T, Qwest, ComCast, CableVision, and many more. There’s a full list HERE. There are lot of tutorials out there on bypassing the evils of throttling. Some work, some don’t, some work for a while then stop working when the ISP figures it out. Below are step-by-step settings that worked for me in uTorrent. I went from being throttled to about three hours a week to being on 24/7. The bandwidth isn’t quite as high as before I was being throttled, but overall my weekly throughput is MUCH higher, because I can now be on 24/7.

NOTE: I do not recommend that you do anything illegal. I use BitTorrent ONLY for seeding my movies and podcasts, things I own, movies like Guns and Weed, the Road To Freedom and the Freedom Feens podcast, things I produced myself that are released Creative Commons. In fact, you can grab my torrents HERE. If you like this article and get something out of it, please do grab those torrents, download and enjoy them, and SEED them. Thanks! But I’ve done a test, and these techniques do work for downloading as well.

Overall, showing bandwidth I’m getting:

Here are the screenshots of my custom settings that are bypassing throttling on my end. (under Options/Preferences):

General settings:

UI settings:

(No screenshot for Directories. Doesn’t matter what you have for Directories.)

Connection settings: (If this port doesn’t work for you, try a different random port, but do not randomize port for each start.)

Bandwidth settings:

BitTorrent settings:

Transfer Cap settings:

Queuing:

Leave the last four, Scheduler, Web UI, Playback and Advanced, as is. You don’t need to change anything on them.

Enjoy. Always obey the law, brush your teeth and do what your parents tell you to. And don’t forget to vote, because your vote counts and politicians are looking out for your best interests. HA HA HA HA!

–Michael W. Dean

 

 

Posted in Liberty, Tools | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

How to speed up ANY website, especially WordPress websites

Share

This is a VERY simple webmaster trick to speed up the loading of ANY website you create. It is particularly noticeable in WordPress.

Simply add this line of code anywhere in the .htaccess file:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css application/javascript application/x-javascript application/x-httpd-php application/rss+xml application/atom_xml text/javascript

That will enable compression of data sent to from the server to the browser. Most browsers can uncompress on the fly, and will speed up loading of your website. Browsers that cannot uncompress will simply ignore the command and deal with the uncompressed version.

This is one of several hundred tricks and tips I’ll be discussing in my upcoming series of podcast episodes about SEO on the Freedom Feens Podcast. Go there and subscribe now so you don’t miss them when they come out.

–Michael W. Dean

Posted in Tools | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on How to speed up ANY website, especially WordPress websites