Why I stopped using Gutenberg

I’ve always been a fan of WordPress and what they do.  WordPress is free, open source, and really powerful.  It is also really easy to use and to setup.  There is a huge community behind it and it is my preferred choice of CMS for the websites I manage.  Many people criticize/look down upon WordPress, and I agree that it isn’t perfect, but it also doesn’t deserve the hate…even for GutenbergGutenberg is the next generation editing experience for WordPress.  It was released in late 2018, and is very (overly) “block”-focused and built in modern JavaScript.  It also is far from ready to be in production for millions of users.

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REVIEW: CeilingLink ceiling grid system

You know I’m working on my basement and I wanted to share my thoughts on the product I’m using for the ceiling grid, CeilingLink. Generally, they have been very positive and I’d recommend it if you are in a similar situation.

What is it and who is it for?

CeilingLink is a direct-mount grid system for ceiling tiles. My basement has 7’2″ ceilings from floor to joist, so I needed something that would give me as much headroom as possible, being that I’m 6’5″. Classic drop ceiling was out of the question. I wasn’t interested in drywall for a variety of reasons: effort, cost, and access. With ceiling tiles, I can remove a few to access whatever I need to access that’s up in the ceiling. Plus, I’m not convinced that drywall looks much better than tiles.  The other benefit is sound reduction, as ceiling tiles can help absorb some between the basement and the main floor upstairs.  Finally, a lot of people leave the basement ceiling exposed.  The primary reason we didn’t want to do this is spiders.  There are a decent amount of spiderwebs in those joists and it feels warmer and cleaner having a real ceiling.

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The role of women in conservative Lutheranism

I’m a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and have been my entire life. I didn’t really get a solid appreciation and knowledge of what that meant from a historical and theological perspective until my college theology courses at Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC). Through my study in coursework and research for papers, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of my faith body and why we do some of the things we do. This deeper understanding includes the origin and traditions of our liturgy, as well as the concept of fellowship. More recently I’ve been thinking and reading more about why women aren’t allowed to vote or serve as voting members on boards in our church. What I found was more than I expected.

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Cereal Quickie: Good Trix is back!

Since 2007, Trix has been balls…but that’s not a good thing. The taste profile changed along with its shape. I’ve still occasionally partook of Trix, but it wasn’t great. It was a firm “meh”.

Last week I found the first box of the fruit shaped Trix, since I heard they were switching back. It was glorious, and I think it catapulted Trix to the top of my fruit cereal list.

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Two great finds 😍

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P.S. The new limited time “Most Stuf” Oreos are also amazing. They are the best Oreos.

I suggest you check out both of these.


Everyday Design: The Toilet Paper Holder

Most toilet paper holders are functional, but are frustrating. They are frustrating mostly, because they are overly complex. The other frustrating thing about traditional, spring-loaded toilet paper holders is living with people who are too lazy to replace an empty roll. The new roll just sits on top of the old one, making the entire holder useless.

the worst

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My Updated Budget Home Media Server Setup

Five years ago I wrote a post detailing my media server setup.  The post is woefully out of date from a hardware standpoint, but only slightly out of date from a software standpoint. The endpoint of my systems is still a Roku with the Plex app, but now I have a almost three-year-old Roku 2, which is significantly faster than my old Roku HD.  Currently I’d recommend the Roku Stick or Stick+.

When we moved almost 4 years ago, the old laptop I was using for a server would no longer turn on.  Instead I’ve been using a low-powered Windows 8.1 HP Stream Mini desktop combined with an external hard drive.  If I were to buy one today, I’d get a similar cheap PC or maybe a refurb desktop, since the HP Stream is discontinued. Since all of my media is directly played by the Roku/Plex, the computer can be wimpy since it doesn’t do any transcoding, just serving.

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Here we go…starting to finish my basement

Ever since we bought our house, we knew we wanted to finish our basement.  The basement is dry, ceilings are high (enough), and we want to maximize our living space. To facilitate the process, last summer we had our electrical panel upgraded as well as the electrical service buried (no more overhead wires!).   Besides the financial impact of the electrical work, our daughter was born last May, so it wasn’t really in the cards for me to start working on the basement then.

Now is the time.

Even though I wasn’t going to start work on the basement last year, I did learn enough Sketchup to come up with some to-scale floor plans.

 

The plan so far.

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Amazon Affiliate Linkerizer: Firefox and Chrome extension

Since I do product reviews and lots of product research, I’m frequently posting Amazon links.  To help me send better links and make me a small amount of affiliate money, I made a new Firefox and Chrome extension.

If you use it without adding any affiliate code, your purchases support me and this blog.

Based on a project I found on Github, Amazon Affiliate Linkerizer puts a button in your browser on Amazon pages.  When you click it, it cleans up the link and add an affiliate code to the end.  The code is customizable per the options page…otherwise it supports me with my affiliate code.   If you use it without adding any affiliate code, your purchases support me and this blog.

If you want to try out this plugin, get it for Firefox or Chrome:

             

I could release it for Microsoft Edge, but I don’t want to pay the $25 developer fee.  (My company paid the $5 developer fee for Chrome, since I had a work-related extension first.)

If you are a programmer, check out the project on Github.


What I’ve learned about soil-less gardening: hydroponics, aeroponics, etc.

Every winter I get excited about gardening and get eager to start growing.  A couple years ago I almost bought an Aerogarden. I didn’t because of its cost, but I resolved to learn about how it worked and if I could make one myself.  As it turns out, the “Aerogarden” doesn’t actually use aeroponics, but “deep water culture” hydroponics.   Not everyone agrees philosophically that we should be using hydroponics, but the science behind it is fascinating nonetheless.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics, simply, is growing plants in a nutrient solution, without soil.  There are various methods to do this, and the Aerogarden is an all-in-one consumer kit. Continue reading


REVIEW: My Toro Snowmaster 724 QXE

The 2015-2016 winter was our first winter in our house, and I fully intended on surviving with only a shovel. I changed my mind, after 8+ inches of heavy wet snow, and almost 2 hours to shovel our driveway. Having already done some research, I seized my chance…I drove to Home Depot and bought a Toro Snowmaster.

I’ve been using my Snowmaster 724 QXE since last year and I was a little apprehensive at first, since it was a new model. After using it a few times, that apprehension is gone.

The Design

Photo credit: Toro

Yes, it is technically a single stage with a different auger design. They call it “inline two stage” because the sides of the auger pull snow toward the center, and the center paddle (much smaller and more scoop-like than a standard single-stage) throws the snow out the chute. The bucket and chute design are shallower in their tapering to maximize throwing distance. It may not throw as far as a two stage, since it lacks an impeller, but if you keep it moving and full of snow, it can throw snow 20-30 feet. The lack of impeller lets Toro use more power in the auger, which spins very fast (“10 times faster than a 2-stage”). This also allows the blower to be a lot lighter, needing much smaller tires (this isn’t a disadvantage).

The lack of weight on this blower means it moves around more like a lawnmower, than a typical two stage blower. Toro even put their personal pace system from their mowers on it. This means that the controls are very minimal:

  • one lever to engage the auger
  • Toro’s “quick chute” joystick (which is awesome)
  • personal pace bar to push the blower and engage the drive-train.

All this means that I can clear my driveway and sidewalk in much less time than my neighbors.

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