A smart home is an efficient home!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bug Out Bag/ Emergency Car Kit

So I know its been a long time since I've posted here, and it's mostly cause Ive lost interest in my Smart Home project. Between work and life, there's no time to spend on it, and what's more is that it's no longer a new type of technology. Lots of companies have similar products and my Smart Home project is no longer a viable option.

So Ive decided to move on to bigger and better things. This blog is still about Green Living, which includes safe, proactive and environmentally friendly topics. One of those topics that recently was brought to my attention is having an emergency Bug Out Bag (BoB) to have with you at home in case of an Emergency where you need to leave your home immediately (i.e. a fire or natural disaster). This is different from an Emergency Car Kit (ECK), which would have tools and supplies in case your car breaks down on the side of the road or you get stranded somewhere remote. This is my new project; In the next few months I'm planning to build up my BoB and ECK kits and I'll be sharing what sorts of items I'm going to have in them. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kitty Acquired

I know its been a long while since I last posted and I do apologize for that. Between work and getting a new kitty, this project has ground to a halt. I just have no time to spend on this 'Smart Home' project anymore. But I decided this blog will be all inclusive about technology, my project (whenever I can) and all other matters of my life that I see necessary to talk about. One such case is the new cat.

My Orange Tabby came to me mid-march, when the temperatures were way too cool for a kitty to be wondering outside in. She was homeless - a stray, wondering endlessly looking for a new home. She happened to be out when we'd had a bitter cold front, with temps dropping into the single digits. Meowing endlessly, she went door to door begging to be let in, when she finally came in front of my door. To her amazement, I actually opened up. She came running inside, investigated the whole apartment, and then looked at me for food. I, being a single guy, had no idea what kitties eat, let alone had any cat food to begin with. I gave her the next best thing: canned tuna with dill and olive oil. From the looks of it, she didnt care: she was famished. Now, visualize if you will, this is a full human-sized can of tuna. One can usually fill and satisfy most folks. She was so hungry, she not only ate one of them, she ate two! Plus she downed about a bottle of water to boot! I was so happy that I fed her, because from the looks of it, she was seriously underweight, with ribs easily showing through her fur. After the initial feeding, she was grateful for the meal, and started rubbing against me and purring. It didnt take long for her to want to go back out, which I complied. Not even 30 seconds spent outside in the freezing temperatures, and she ran right back indoors. Now I had me a kitty.

First thing was first: I had to bathe her to get the grime and dirt off of her coat. No way I was letting her sleep in my apartment or my bed for that matter, while she was dirty. Note: had I known the possible side effects to bathing cats, I would have never attempted this. I knew they didnt like water, and that she would most likely attempt to flee the bath, so I went in and completely forgot all the supplies I needed. I took her in the bathroom and shut the door behind me. First thing I did was try to calm her, which didnt really get me anywhere. She was anxious for being in a new location, and taking her with me into a smaller room seemed to aggravate that. For the moment though, she wasnt meowing, howling or angry, so I went for it. I turned the water on, attempted to set the temperature to something comfortable for me, and dunked her right in. Knowing now what I should have known then, dunking her was very silly of me for many reasons.

One, she could have freaked out and attacked me for doing that - thankfully, she did not. Two, she could have jumped out and made a complete mess of me and my bathroom - which this is exactly what she did. And Three, she could have caught a cold for having her fur whetted suddenly and without notice. Normally, it is recommended that if you wish to bathe your kitty, you need to prepare a small tub with some toys and slowly introduce him/her into it to try to "enjoy" the bath. Also, I used Head-And-Shoulders, since thats the only soap I had available. Apparently, theres some special kitty-safe bathing soap, I wasnt aware about. In any case, my soap did its job, because when I finally washed her off, the whole bottom of the bath tub was covered in soil/sand. Since I didnt have the forsight to get a towel for her, I had to use my bath towel to dry her off. Let me tell you, while bathing is one of the hardest things to do, drying off a wet cat is just as hard, if not harder. She doesnt want to sit still, shes soaking wet, plus by now you're probably soaking wet too, and all the while, shes getting cold. You have to work quickly, otherwise she will catch a cold, which involves taking her to a vet and getting some medication to help her out with that. Its a lengthy, painful process you dont want to undertake. So some speed in drying your kitty is required.

When I finally dried her off, her fur was matted down, and she began the long process of cleaning her own fur to fluff it back up. By this point, it was late into the night, and I was getting tired. I felt I owed her to care for her at least temporarily, so I brought her to my bed, and allowed her to bunk with me for the night. I was surprised just how accepting she was of the gesture. Just as I was starting to nod off, I noticed she had stopped licking herself and had dropped off as well. It made me smile, knowing I had not only rescued a kitty, but cared for her and helped her get clean as well.

Okay, since this story is really long, I'll save the second half for later. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Copyright Update!

Well after some thought, and a few cease-and-desist letters, I had decided to formally submit an application for a copyright registration of my thesis paper. This was back in March - its now September, and my registration has been approved! So now, only I am allowed to say if and when people can use from my thesis document any material posted in it, that includes drawings and schematics. All of it is copyrighted. :)

OK, now that I got that off my chest, onwards to the Smart Home project...

Alas, I havent made much progress with this since I started my new job. Work projects take priority after all, and I just dont seem to have it in me to work on this when I get back home on the weekdays. I dont even have my lab bench setup at my place, so I cant really begin to think about smd soldering or what not. However, Im still open to suggestions and input for ways to improve the project.

Thanks for reading. Peace!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Regular Fixes to Linux

If you're like me, and you rarely use Linux, you tend to forget your password as well as other little windows interface fixes that are required quite often.

I hope this blog post is as useful to others as it has been to me. The following instructions are a combination of Linux Tips and Tricks and Brandon's Solution:

Linux Passwords

Lost Password? Dont Fret! Check This Out:

Switch on your computer, and as soon as you can, strike the Esc key on your keyboard to display GRUB menu (assuming it doesnt already take you to this menu on boot-up);

Highlight and select the recovery mode;

Your distro will boot into a recovery shell; 

Select the command prompt as root, then type:

user@pc:~$ passwd user

Where the user is your username; Choose, enter and confirm a new password when prompted.

If this doesnt work, I have a solution. Its not because you typed it in wrong. Its because the File System is mounted in Read Only mode which prevents resetting the password.

You'll have to change it over to be Read/Write Mode. Heres how to do that:

Choosing the option to remount / as read/write and going back into the root shell prompt enables the password change.
The command to run prior to changing the password is:
user@pc:~$ mount -rw -o remount /

Try again with the password change:

user@pc:~$ passwd user

Where the user is your username; Choose, enter and confirm a new password when prompted.

Restart your machine:

user@pc:~$ reboot

and take a deep breath.


Next I have an issue with my XFace GUI where my Maximize, Minimize and Close buttons all disappear and the window title bar is missing. Its very annoying, since you cant close any of your windows, and you can end up punching your screen in frustration. Here is a temporary solution for that [credit to The Ubunt2 Forums]:

Click on the Application Menu to Execute a Program.

Type in 
xfwm4 &
and hit [Execute]. This should resolve your problems. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Work Desk Galore

Hello again. 

Lately Ive been overwhelmed by projects and tasks at my new job, so I havent had the opportunity to make much progress on my own Smart Home project. On the brighter side, Ive got a pretty good idea of the work desk I want to order so that I can setup a work station at my new apartment.

Ive narrowed down the choices to two workbenches from Global Industries, both with Maple-wood tops. I didnt want an ESD-safe top, because those are plastic surfaces which arent very friendly to Soldering Irons. Traditional compressed-wood work tops arent very knife-friendly either. So the best of both worlds, a cutting board-styled top. Im not sure if I will add accessories to the work bench or not; first thing is first, Ive got to order the bench and assemble it at my apartment, before I can proceed.

Until next time. Peace Out.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Unauthorized Sales of My Thesis

Lately I have noticed a few stores selling my published thesis, Tesla Turbine Torque Modeling for Construction of a Dynamometer and Turbine, without A) asking permission from me, the copyright holder, through oral or written means, or B) giving me royalties for the sales. 

As this is a document provided free to download on the UNT Digital Library website, I expect it to be shared to the global community free of charge. BUT should it be sold, I expect to gain royalties as a result of these sales (though I still dont want to sell it).

I have seriously considered sending a Cease-and-Desist Letter to all of the stores attempting to sell a copy of my copyrighted material, and have already begun with a few of them. I have filed a copyright application to get the ball rolling legally in case I have to take this to court (hopefully I wont have to).

The following websites have already received emails about this, and should be taking action shortly to take them down:



As it stands, if you see this document, Tesla Turbine Torque Modeling for Construction of a Dynamometer and Turbineplease PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT. I am not getting any Royalties, and these sales do NOT benefit me. 

You can download it for FREE from the original publishing location, the UNT Digital Library.

If you have any advice for me, please post away. I can use any advice on this topic.

Thanks for your understanding.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slowed Pace, Little Progress

Well, the pace of the project has slowed down considerably since I settled down at my new job. As you can imagine, after a long day at work, one tends to just relax when one goes home, and side projects are the last thing on your mind. So this has become a weekend project pretty much. 

The boards returned from the Fab shop a few days after the New Year, but Ive yet to order the parts (or solder paste) because my work desk/soldering station isnt setup. Ive moved to a new place and I will have to acquire a proper work desk so to proceed with soldering in a safe manner. So pretty much the project is still on a hold until I can setup my work station.

Whenever I get a chance I may post some technical news posts, but until I get the work station, there wont be any updates for this project. Makes me a little sad, but my new job takes priority. 

Peace Out.
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