Whitebread on Patrol

Insert Witty Title of New Desk Post

December 21st, 2010

Alan wanted pictures of my monitor setup. Here you go. Keep in mind that everything is still dusty and dirty from construction.

When we bought the house, we had a living room that had absolutely silly proportions. Way too long and skinny, and no real way to use all the space. We walled off about a third of it, replaced the carpet with tile in the dining room, kitchen, laundry room, and newly-made room, and moved our office in there.

I’d had a wooden platform in my old office on which I mounted my monitors. This worked great there but wouldn’t work in the new room, where my desk had me sitting with my back in a corner. Monoprice to the rescue! Their single-mount and dual-mount monitor stands are inexpensive, sturdy, and attractive. They also have pretty nice HDMI matrix switches and of course inexpensive cables. Don’t ever, ever pay what Wal-mart is asking for a cable without checking at Monoprice first.

I had two other problems: The tangle of cords needed to support a computer with four monitors was easy to hide under a three-foot-deep corner desk, but here it ended up in a giant mess. Also, the computer itself, with three case fans, a power supply fan, a CPU fan, and two GPU fans, was way too loud. I went to Office Max and bought a double lateral file that matched the rest of our office set. I assembled it normally except that I left the bottom out of the top shelf and reinforced the bottom of the bottom drawer, making essentially a cabinet with one giant drawer. I then cut matching holes on the drawer and the outside of the cabinet, added fan covers to the outside of the cabinet, attached cheap “silent” 120mm fans to the inside of the drawers, and connected those fans via a long cable to the motherboard, allowing me to control the speed (and thus noise level) of the fans via software.

The result is a neat cabinet that reduces the roar of the computer to a quiet hum while containing all the mess, including the network switch and power strip. If you do this, take care to match your intake and exhaust fans to cooperate with those of your PC case instead of working against them. All the sensors in the computer are reporting comfortable temperatures, and the air temperature hovers somewhere in the 80 F to 90 F range, uncomfortable for us but just fine for electronics.

Notice the paper already coming off the front of one of the legs. I would have returned it, but it was the only one they had and I couldn’t be bothered. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

Bredacat does not seem to mind.

Program your own replacement remote key fobs

September 22nd, 2010

In college, I briefly drove a 2001 Ford Taurus, until I decided that I was working to pay for the car to go to work, so my parents gave the car to my sister.

Sometime during her ownership of the car, her keyfob died. She told me that it wasn’t just the battery in the remote, but the receiver on the car as well. She’d been told by a mechanic to give up on the whole idea and tossed the fob.

When the car was deemed to old to do anything with but scrap, my parents gave it back to me. I put $500 in repairs into it and it became the newest car we owned. My wife drives it but wished she had a remote unlock like a car she had once upon a time.

One day I came across a link on Hack a Day detailing how to program your own key fob. For the Ford, it was “Turn the key from [Off] to [Run] without starting it eight times in ten seconds. Then press any button on the fob you wish to activate. Turn the ignition to [Off] and you’re done.”

I ordered a remote off eBay for $8 and followed the instructions above. I got it right the first time.

I had always figured programming such devices required specialized software and/or hardware. I guess the folks charging $60 per fob are running a racket.

It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

September 19th, 2010

Ni jambo kubwa kwamba dunia yote ni kuzungumza lugha yetu ya leo. Sisi maharamia wanaweza kufurahi katika tukio hili. Asante sana!

Only Took Me 18 Years

August 27th, 2010

You Found What Works for You: Go Buy More Copies

August 26th, 2010

You always hear as a new gun-toter that almost everybody ends up with a box full of holsters that didn’t work right for them.

What nobody ever tells you is that you may eventually find one that works so well that you can ditch almost everything else.

For three years now I’ve been carrying some Glock or another in a Comp-Tac MTAC holster. It’s held up just fine and conceals a baby Glock under a T-shirt, or my duty weapon under an untucked camp shirt. It’s so comfortable that I usually wear it right up until I get undressed for bed. For the first two years of ownership I wasn’t an Only One, so the holster was my constant companion.

About a year ago, I gritted my teeth and bought a second copy. I’d had beloved holsters fail on me before, and it always seems to happen right before a long trip where you really want your heater to be comfortable and well-concealed. It came in and was promptly put on the shelf for a rainy day.

Today I received duplicates of my magazine carrier and chemical weapon carrier. Over the years I’ve also ordered several sets of mounting hardware and mounting clips.

Nothing made by man lasts forever. If you know that something will eventually fail, and that you’ll replace it with an identical copy when it happens, why not go ahead and have your spare lined up now? This is the beginning of preparedness.

Bunker for Sale

August 22nd, 2010

Commander Zero links a great youtube tour of a bunker originally built to protect telecom equipment during the cold war.

At $440,000, it could make a darn tempting group buy. I would be very interested in knowing if it was located in California or in one of the neighboring states. The description says five hours out of LA.


August 6th, 2010

I have a guest room that has room for a twin bed and a tiny desk and not much else. Designs like this could make that room actually useful for something.

Take a look

August 1st, 2010

Take a good hard look. What do you see?

I see an aggressor with a weapon.

What would be your immediate reaction to this situation? I hope that it would be to address the criminal with your own deadly force.

But then you’d go to jail, because that criminal is an off-duty cop, and in the state of Maryland, cops don’t have to worry about petty things like aggravated assault charges. Instead, when faced with documentation of unlawful use of force, they can charge the motorcyclist with a crime for videotaping one of their own in public.

Here’s the whole video. Skip to about 3:00 for the rage. I can imagine that at about 3:18 I’d be putting rounds into the man approaching me with a gun. Good thing for the Only One that the little people aren’t trusted with handguns in public.


July 15th, 2010

Zoooooooom, smell the burning belts, brakes, and fluids

July 12th, 2010

What’s the fastest you’ve driven? Well, the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor has a factory electronic governor of 130 MPH. I’ve been in the passenger seat to see this quite a few times, and as a newly-unleashed officer have done it a couple of times already. There are precious few places and circumstances where this kind of speed is justifiable and relatively sane. Usually it’s an interstate at zero dark thirty on a weeknight with five miles between you and another officer who is in danger of getting his ass kicked. The landscape is entirely different once you pass 110 or so, and I’d never do it just for fun unless I was on a closed course. Then again, I’m boring.

In my personal vehicles, I doubt I have ever topped 90 MPH while passing.

This is How Pepper Spray Really Works

May 31st, 2010

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

I’m still a big fan of chemical weapons. Yes, everybody in the vicinity gets a little of it, but the intended target gets it far, far worse, and presumably doesn’t know it’s coming. Two important points:

- You want “stream” chemical weapons, not “spray” or “fog”. The stream is just what it sounds like, putting out a super-soaker-style splattering stream of Suck. Spray or fog tends to produce more of the aforementioned collateral damage.
- The surprise of the sensation is key to its effect. Thus, it is essential that you never, ever telegraph your intention to spray someone, or use the threat of spray as a deterrent. Anyone who’s been sprayed before will instinctively close their eyes and hold their breath if they know it’s coming, diminishing the Suck and enabling them to continue doing whatever it is that you were spraying them for.

Someone figured out steampunk

May 16th, 2010

Courtesy Merlin Mann.

Mind. Blown.

April 26th, 2010

Knowledge Worth Saving

April 3rd, 2010

I love videos like these, because you can watch them, tuck away the trick, and not think about it again until years later, when it saves your bacon in a highly specific situation.

Presented without Comment

March 13th, 2010

Childhood Memories, Amplified and Yet Destroyed

February 13th, 2010

I’m going to have nightmares.

December 26th, 2009

Admit It, You Wished Your Family Did This

December 25th, 2009


We do this with several other couples. The first few years we traded $20 bills. Now we just go to dinner together sometime during the holidays and go dutch on the bill.

I wish my entire family would do it. Every year everyone gets lots of thoughtful, cute, and completely unneeded crap that ends up cluttering our homes or being discretely offloaded.

Does anyone else do this with anyone in their life?

A Room-Temperature Superconductor Walks Into a Bar…

December 15th, 2009

I share this here because less than 1% of my non-interweb friends will get these jokes. Use them this holiday season on family when you feel that you aren’t getting enough blank stares.

Best Blooper Reel Evar

December 13th, 2009