Just finished a Swedish Butterknife

I made this out of a piece of pear wood. Shaped it on the bandsaw and did some sanding by hand. Rough shaping with 50 grit and worked all the way to 500 grit. Oiled with olive oil.

A nice process and an interesting project for me in that it was completely unnecessary, totally unplanned and has no requirements other than it looking how I want it to.

An Aromatic and Flavorful Marinade

This marinade is delicious. I have made this for years and it has always been great, even though I loosely interpret the ingredients (i.e. close enough is good enough – no measuring). In this recipe, I have altered the ingredients, intentionally going lower on the salt because that can be added as needed, when tasting and plating happens. NOTE: I have used a single batch of marinade for a over two weeks, but I hear from chefs that it doesn’t hold well, so, for best results, try to use it within a few days.
I was first introduced to it by Gordon Ramsay on YouTube (UPDATE: video no longer available in the US; BOOOO!)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (a thumb-sized nub of ginger)
1 tbsp grated garlic (about 3/4 head of garlic)
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne
some olive oil until a paste-like consistency, similar in thickness to peanut butter.
Schmear the marinade on chicken, shrimp, lamb, beef. Marinade for a bit.
* bread the seasoned meat and brown it until golden in a pan with olive oil
* cook the meat over an open flame and create crispiness.
Always good. ENJOY!!

Custom Nightstand

I bought an old house 10 years ago and, adhering to the advice of Tom Silva, focused any renovation or improvement work on securing the home from water and improving the mechanicals. It was prudent advice but it inferred that some of the more visually gratifying renovation projects were put off and as a result, we got accustomed to some less-than-ideal furnishings and, frankly, some ugly rooms.

After years of the aforementioned prudent renovations, it is finally time to fix some of the things that we can appreciate!

It’s always a little random when I decide to fix something and this was no exception. Let’s start with the problem: I don’t have a nightstand. So I didn’t have a nice place to charge my phone and store incidentals like books and headphones or a cup of tea. There are lots of nightstands available on the market but the wall behind my bed is shaped like this \_____/ so I needed an odd-shaped table. Since I needed a custom solution, I had the opportunity to make it special and did not hold back in this project, opting for an integrated USB charging hub tucked in the back!

One element to my advantage is that three-legged objects never tip or rock. I used “found” materials for the project — ended up building the whole thing using parts from discarded furniture that I collected over the years. The wood does not match (there are parts made from maple, oak and poplar) but it is painted so that doesn’t matter.

The legs were joined to the apron using mortise and tenon joinery. One of my favorite touches, from a woodworking perspective was adding a gentle taper to the legs. They are 5/4″ square at the top and 3/4″ square at the bottom.

In the end, I really like the utility of the piece. Here is a pic of it with the front drawer opened:

Cleaning Up the Family Media Library

I have a digital mess. Our “photo library” exists on 3 different computers plus 2 phones. Each computer has different files but most files are the same. How do I clean it up? With 15K files, I need some help from the computer to find duplicates and rename the files.

1) a definitive collection of photos for every entire year, organized by year (one folder per year), having files named with a counter based on date;
2) synchronize collection across home network so that if a hard drive fails, there is a backup;
3) videos (home movies) should be moved to a sister directory to the photos; and
4) for the current year, all cameras should upload to plex and at the new year, the “keepers” will be copied into the library, organized according to the aforementioned rules.

1) download a local copy of each photo collection so that deduping is not hampered by network speed;
2) purchase and download duplicate photo finder ($40). Run comparisons at 100% setting to delete perfect matches. Run again at 85% and look through to see if there are close matches delete any duplicates;
3) merge remaining photos into one collection;
4) merge remaining videos into one collection;
5) purchase and download Lyn for Mac ($20);
6) video deduplication is manual. I find the best solution is to sort by file size in Lyn and if there are two files with equal sizes, compare thumbnails and delete the dupes;
7) batch rename files with the format: counter – date.extension;
8) in my network, Windows computers will hold the files, so now I will copy the Library to my Windows computer. To synchronize files, I will use Microsoft synctoy (note: this is difficult in Windows 10 but if you install the Windows Sync Framework, it works fine); and
9) lastly, I will configure my phones to “Upload images to Plex”.

Retooling for the New Year

I’ve been keeping a running list of upgrades and system changes to do and thought I should post them as a sort of technical new year’s resolution list.

This is, admittedly, quite dorky stuff and at this point, it’s a to-do list, not a done list. Here goes:

  1. ✓ My home has an old, broken intercom system (pictured above). I took out the old guts and put Alexa inside with some good computer speakers. One special touch was to have the speaker outputs run through an analog volume control on the front of the SoundGuard;
  2. ✓ HTTPS via certbot;
  3. ✗ Android auto for safe, hands free phone us in car (fail: too limited in its options);
  4. ✓ Maybe I should stop using Resilio Sync for copying images from phone to collection. It’s quirky. PLEX has a photo upload thing. I’ll try that;
  5. ✓ LastPass password manager;
  6. I need a way to organize a decade of digital photos and remove duplicates. I like Lyn for organizing but duplicate detection is not a strongpoint;
  7. ✓ Change my personal email from tim@newenglandwebs.com on google apps to timthorp@hotmail.com. Continue using Chrome to read email;
  8. ✓ Move notes from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote;
  9. ✗ I’ve been using Todoist for a while. If OneNote handles it better, I’ll port that over too (Todoist is better);
  10. ✓ Change work email/calendar/chat from Safari to Mail, Calendar (OSX apps) and make Chrome the default browser and then setup the Hangouts Chrome extension;
  11. ✓ Spotify premium instead of strictly an mp3 collection;
  12. ✓ New bluetooth digital music player in truck (Kenwood DPX303MBT);
  13. ✓ Sprout Invoices with e-commerce via Stripe for freelance work;
  14. ✓ Will try replacing Tablo DVR with HDHomeRun configured with PLEX;
  15. ✓ A jerry can for gassing up the Gravely (because cheap plastic cans drip all over and make me a grumpy old man);
  16. ✓ A new bike.