Product Review: Traeger BBQ 400 Select

I’ve been a “big stainless steel natural gas” barbeque grill guy for a long time. I’ve owned everything from entry-level Nexgrill units, to mid-level KitchenAid grills, all the way up to the big-daddy Viking grills. So this past Saturday, when my wife and I hit our local Costco, our intent was to pick up another mid-to-high-end stainless that burned natural gas (since we’ve got a natural gas stub on the deck).

But as luck, or perhaps fate, would have it… Traeger Grills was having a “road show” […]

Resize a Fedora, CentOS, or Windows Dynamic Guest Virtual Disk (VDI) in VirtualBox in 3 Easy Steps

Here’s the scenario: you’ve set up Dynamically Allocated Storage for the hard drive on your Guest VM in VirtualBox and you’ve run out of space — even though your Actual Size is smaller than the Virtual Size (this happened to me recently when my Virtual Size was 10 GB, and the Actual Size was only 5.55 GB… but my Guest OS was complaining that I didn’t have enough disk space to do an update.)

You thought that as long as the Actual Size was smaller than […]

Rant: Why is there no libbsd for CentOS 7?

CentOS 7 was released recently, and so I fired up my build VM so I could attempt to build the OpenDKIM package for submission to EPEL.

But the compile barfs on strlcat/strlcopy, because RHEL/CentOS doesn’t have libbsd available (yet?).

The libbsd package was a requirement for the package to work in CentOS 5 and 6… so we’re pretty much stuck in RHEL/CentOS 7 without it. Perhaps that package mainter is scrambling around trying to figure out how to get his package into EPEL for RHEL/CentOS, and […]

Fraud Alert: Mark Raider of Rogclassics in Ely, Nevada is using my Ferrari F40 as Bait

Earlier today, I received the following email from someone who is not named Bob, but that’s what I’ll call him to protect his privacy:
Steve,

Did you recently sell an F40? Or are in the process of selling one? I have one with your vin number being offered to me that I am considering buying but the party representing the car is somewhat elusive. Can you advise if its for sale?

Many thanks.

Bob
I replied immediately:
Hi, Bob. It seems like your gut instinct is telling you something is wrong.. and you […]

My Favorite Zend OPcache Status Scripts

When I upgraded to PHP 5.5, I also said goodbye to my beloved APC cache (which never let me down) in favor of Zend OPcache, because it’s already part of the PHP package. Back when I used APC, one of my favorite tools was the apc.php script that showed cache status and allowed me to clear the cache right from a web  browser:

So after switching over to the updated Zend OPcache, I went on a search for some web-based OPcache status PHP scripts. Following are my three favorites (all the screenshots […]

Product Review: Save Money with a Gas Water Heater Timer

I own a whopping eight water heaters between five houses: two at the main house, two at the Utah house, two at the cabin, and one at each of two rental houses. The cabin and one of the rental houses use electric water heaters, so the majority of my water heaters (5 out of 8) run on natural gas.

For those who have electric water heaters, I recently wrote a blog post detailing how to save money on your electric bill by connecting a control module to an electric water heater, which could […]

Product Review: Remotely Controlling an Electric Water Heater with a Leviton Zigbee Module

One of my favorite features of my Ecobee WiFi thermostats is the ability to heat or cool a location so that it’s nice and comfortable by the time we walk in the door. For example, our furnace and heat pump at our cabin both use electricity, so I save money on my electric bill by allowing a very wide range of internal temperatures (50F – 90F ) when we’re not there, and only using electricity to heat or cool it right before before we arrive (to make it comfortable) and while we’re there (to keep […]

Product Review: Western Humidor Caliber 4R Digital Hygrometer and Thermometer

I recently purchased a dehumidifier to place in my gun safe (product review is coming), but I wanted to make sure it was doing its job properly. The only way to ensure that is to test the humidity inside the safe before placing the dehumidifier in there versus after. And the only way to test relative humidity is with a hygrometer.

I don’t smoke cigars, but I know that cigar aficionados like to store them at a relative humidity of 70%, which makes for a wide […]

How to Calibrate a Hygrometer (Humidity Sensor) using the Salt Test

“It’s not the heat… it’s the humidity that gets you.” Not only is that true for personal comfort, but even more so for important items that need to be kept at a specific humidity (like cigars at 70%) or metal parts on guns (which want to be stored in a dry location). I don’t smoke cigars, but I do keep firearms in a safe, and so I purchased a Caliber 4R digital hygrometer and thermometer on Amazon for $25, with the intent to mount it inside […]

Adding Astronomical Clock Functionality to an Original Lutron HomeWorks System

When my primary residence was built in 1998, the builder installed a Lutron HomeWorks whole-house lighting system. Basically, it’s a set of three panels (one on each floor) that can control all the lighting loads in the house. It also allows any keypad in the house to control any light in the house, providing a lot of flexibility with programming “scenes.” Back then, the system was “top of the line” technology. But as with all things electronic, newer revisions of both hardware and software […]