Tag Archives: tools

A Bit of Home Improvement with Ryobi Tools

Brushed Nickel Towel Bar
New Towel Bar

Back around Thanksgiving, I hit up a sale at Home Depot and bought myself a 4 piece Ryobi One+ combo kit1. After Christmas I went back to Home Depot and picked up the Ryobi Tool Bag. The tool bag came loaded with a nice assortment of drill bits and a racheting screwdriver with a vast collection of interchangable bits (phillips, flat-head, sqare and torx). The bag was just the right size to hold my drill, flashlight and radio. Since then the tools have sat around mostly gathering dust.

Today while out doing some shopping, we found a nice set of bathroom hangers (e.g. for towels & toiletpaper) on clearance for less than $20. The set has a brushed nickel finish which we really like and installing it helped me avoid cleaning out our guest room2. The set installed very easily and I really got to try out my tools.

Things I liked:

  • The magnetic strip on the base of the drill is fantastic for holding different drill bits, screws, whatever I need.
  • The ratcheting screwdriver makes it quick and easy to install/remove screws.
  • That tool bag really holds everything I need for most home improvement projects. The way it’s designed feels like somebody at Ryobi was sitting around their house wishing they had a bag to hold all the bits they’d ever be likely to need for a screwdriver and a drill.

Things I didn’t like:

  • The keyless chuck on the drill poorly grips the bits.
  • After 10+ years of apartment living, I’m out of practing with using a drill. Especially using a drill as an electric screwdriver and so I kind of stripped a couple screwheads. Ooops.
  • The metal splinter I got in my thumb after stripping a couple of screwheads.
  • The drill is heavier than I really like.3

1 Mine was a slightly different kit as it came with a radio rather than the Corner Cat Finish Sander.
2 I’m sooo going to be in trouble when my wife reads this.
3 My version of the kit uses the NiCd batteries which contributes the vast majority of the weight of the tool. At some point I’ll buy the 18v Lithium Upgrade Kit which should solve this complaint.

Admiring My Tool

Leatherman Squirt P4

I carry a Leatherman Squirt P4 and once in a while, I take out of my pocket and set it on my desk. Either because it’s poking my leg or I’m using it for some reason or another. Today I had it sitting out and was concentrating on our current big project, headphones on and oblivious to my surroundings.

When I suddenly noticed two of my co-workers leaning over my cube wall, looking at me. One of them noticed the Squirt sitting on my desk and started talking about how cool it was. Then our supervisor walked over and mentioned how I was popular today. The other of my co-workers piped up with “We were just admiring his tool” and all of us got the giggles. We thought about all the various ways she could have said that…

  • “Admiring his pocket tool”
  • “Admiring his Leatherman”
  • “Admiring his Squirt”

And decided there was no way we were not going to laugh at the comment.

amaroK & Magnatune

As has been noted on this blog multiple times, I use Linux. Specifically, I use SuSE Linux. For my desktop environment, I use KDE. There are several music players available for KDE but the one that is far & away the best is amaroK. It’s got some great organizational tools, a cover manager and can even copy songs to your iPod. It rocks and if you listen to music under Linux; you’re missing out if you’re still using XMMS.

Another thing I like is Magnatune. This is a website that allows you to listen to MP3s of all the albums they offer for sale as CDs, plus they let you podcast with their music without paying for some ridiculous license. They’ve got a wide selection of music (e.g. blues, ambient, rock, medieval, etc…) and when I’m looking for something new to listen to; they’re the first place I go.

In fact tonight, I started poking around their site for some new music when I ran across this post on their founder’s blog:

A few months ago, the developers of amaroK (the amazingly gorgeous music player for Linux and Unix, that really does give iTunes a run for its money) asked me about Magnatune cooperating on their new release of their version 1.3. Their idea was to make a self-booting linux image, that boots into a linux desktop, with amaroK running and some Magnatune music included.

It’s like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, they’re getting peanut butter (Magnatunes) mixed in with my chocolate (amaroK)! Nice move people! 😀

What A Day

I had originally planned on attending a Pampered Chef party with my wife last Sunday. I had been thinking it would be some pleasant socializing over some tasty food with a bit of somebody trying to sell me some pricey kitchen stuff. That is to say a not entirely unpleasant to spend part of one’s afternoon. Instead about an hour before the party, our friend Bryon stopped by and mentioned that Bruce Campbell was in town giving a short talk and promotting his new book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way.

I thought about it for a minute, but I knew there’d be more chances for Pampered Chef parties and I doubted I’d have any better chance of getting to see Mr. Campbell in person. So after a quick shower1, Bryon and I hopped into the car and drove into Iowa City. We got to the site about 40 minutes prior to the event began. We waited around and it turned out one of my co-workers was also there2. Then about 10 minutes before Mr. Campbell was scheduled to begin speaking; they opened one set of the doors into the auditorium and let everybody in. And naturally, it wasn’t the door we’d had been waiting at. *sigh*

Eventually, everybody was inside and mostly seated but then the organizers explained how the signing procedure was supposed to work and said the new book was for sale at the back of the auditorium. So we ended up giving up our fairly good seats to go get in another line. It took a while to get through the line, but it was good that we both went to the line as Laura3 showed up looking for us. Apparently, she decided the party wasn’t her cup of tea. While we were waiting in line; she kindly thanked me for “being so god-damn tall”.

There was a considerable amount of waiting in line to get the book, but eventually we all got our copies and headed back to find new seats (the good seats we’d had were long gone). A bit after that Mr. Campbell started taking questions. It turns out he’s a very charismatic speaker. There were a number of questions about him working with Sam Raimi, but the only one that really stuck in my mind was:

Questioner: When working on Spiderman, did you hang out with Tobey Maguire?
Bruce Campbell: Why would I?

*grin*

After far too little time had passed, Mr. Campbell stopped taking questions and then made a short speech promoting B-movies as the only place that is still creative in Hollywood.

…getting bitten by a radioactive spider is a b-movie!

After the speech, they started having people come up to get their books signed. Bryon & I had relatively low numbers but when we were going up they weren’t actually checking peoples numbers. Eventually I got up there and had Mr. Campbell sign my book; but I felt like a complete twit, the entire time I was there. I mean I have enjoyed all of his movies that I’ve seen and what I read of the book while I was in line was very amusing but I didn’t really have anything to say to him. He was very polite to me, but it was a rather uncomfortable moment for me. Signed memorabilia is nice to have I suppose, but it doesn’t do much for me. To tell the truth, I’m not entirely sure why I went up to have him sign the book. Other than I’d waited in line to get the sticker saying I could do so. *shrug* Life, go figure.

After that, we took off and headed off to meet up with some other friends for some RPGing. When we got there they were still finishing up with the Pampered Chef party and I got to munch down some of the leftovers4. Then it was game time and afterwards off to Old Chicago for dinner. All in all, a very pleasant Sunday. 🙂

1 Bryon arrived before we were expecting anybody. And yes, I’m extra-specially lazy on the weekend; so if I’m not expecting company I will hang around the apartment without getting myself up and ready for the day.
2 That would be Quincy for those that are curious.
3 Another friend of ours. One who was supposed to be at the Pampered Chef party.
4 Ah, breakfast at 3pm….

Firefox Tip

Firefox Privacy Settings
Firefox Privacy Options

Have you been using Firefox for several months? And during that time noticed that it’s taking longer & longer for the Save File dialog box to come up? Then likely, you’ve got the same problem that I’ve had. Fortunately, there’s an easy (but slow) fix for this.

 

Instructions:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Go into Tools -> Options (or Edit -> Preferences).
  3. Click on the Privacy icon in the left-hand pane.
  4. In the right-hand pane, click on Download Manager History.
  5. Click the Clear button. At this point, Firefox may appear to have crashed but in reality it should be going through and clearing out all of the items from your download history. On my home machine, this took several minutes to complete but I’ve been running Firefox since v0.9 and have never cleared the download history before.
  6. Optionally, you may wish to change the “Remove files from the Download Manager:” from “Manually” to “When Firefox exits”. To help prevent this slow down from happening again.

This fix works on both the Linux & Windows versions of Firefox. I would presume it also works for the OS X version, but I (sadly enough) do not have a Mac to try it out on.

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