Sunday, May 31, 2009

Truly sanitizing with bleachwater: 1ozBWV method

It is common to see people clean/disinfect with bleachwater. Cutting boards, countertops, baby stuff, bathrooms, etc. There are two problems with this:
  1. it is easy to use way too much bleach, wasting money, causing skin/eye/nose irritation, putting more chlorine in wastewater; and,
  2. the pH of bleach in water is too high to disinfect to its full potential. In other words, disinfecting with plain bleach is leaving money on the table. When the pH is not adjusted there is more bleaching going on than sanitizing. Think about that next time you use bleachwater on that grout or the board where you cut that chicken up.
The first trick is to find a good no-rinse dilution rate; this means you don't have to rinse the surface off after you wipe/spray with the bleachwater and it won't make your eyes and skin burn. This rate is 1 fluid ounce of unscented cheap bleach for 5gal of water. Fancy bleach has additives that inhibit the process and they cost more. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, "cheap is good". So pull out that orange Home Depot bucket and pour 1oz of bleach in it. Add in 5gal of water.

Here's the 2nd trick, dropping the pH of the solution down from 8+ where it is now down into the 6.5-7.5 range where it works as a viciously-effective sanitizer but does not generate chlorine gas. The way to to this is to add 1 fluid oz of normal white vinegar to your mixed bleachwater. Of course you know not to mix those undiluted chemicals, right?

That's why it's called 1ozBWV; the amounts are in the name (1oz) and the order of addition is specified: Bleach first, then water, then vinegar.

This method was most famously described by Charlie Talley, a chemical engineer formerly responsible for production of Clorox bleach. He currently produces a nonbleach sanitizer for the homebrewing market. For more information, listen here.

learning to love/hate the touchpad

The last real laptop I owned used a, uhh, pointer stick (like a pencil eraser) instead of a touchpad. An IBM of some kind.

So I am having to get used to using the pad now. My biggest mistake is accidentally touching it with my thumbs as I type, introducing unintentional cursor movement. Doesn't happen so much anymore but it is surprising when it happens.

One nice feature of the pad (and this may be standard on all laptops for all I know) is multifinger gestures. For example, a normal touch is left-mouse-button, two finger touch is middle-mouse, and three-finger touch is right-mouse. This make more sense if you think of the mouse buttons being numbered 1, 2, and 3 from left to right. I like it.

Also two-finger drags (up, down, horizontal) work like the scrollmouse button. Neat, particularly since Eee mouse buttons (the actual, physical ones) take a fair bit of effort to press.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

eee on the patio deck

I am almost used to the keyboard now; my accuracy and speed are much improved.

I'm making this blog entry off the eee and decided to share my current desktop with you. Didn't clean it up for the pic or anything; still figuring out where I want stuff. But you can get a feel for the widescreen LCD format. It's natively 1024x600.

Anyhow, still having fun and wanted to share.

Just ordered a pie from Pizza Villa, so gotta go run pick it up!

eee arrives

Ordered it Thursday from, got it Friday. I think they must have a DC somewhere in DFW because most of my free shipping stuff from Buy gets here the next day.

Unboxed the eee. Looks new, other than the box being opened.

Plugged it in, booted up to WinXP. Took about 15mins from boot to get connected to wireless surfing the net. Most of the delay was "found new hardware" and "what's your name, do you want to register" crapola. Worked fine fine to me.

Verified it worked fine, then rebooted with puppeee on a sdcard. Booted to linux and was online in about 4mins from boot. Puppeee linux is shocking fast, mainly because it is a tiny OS (the whole puppeee distro is 139mb) and stays completely resident in RAM.

The tradeoff is that Puppy's boot and shutdown times are relatively slow. as all the RAM loading and unloading makes it a bit pokey at those times. Boot, for example, takes 58 seconds on my untuned install.

The best comparison I can make is Puppy is to Windows as MySQL is to Oracle. Many folks prefer the free, fast MySQL backend to the $$$, feature-rich, bloated Oracle.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I do not have a laptop. I avoided buying one for the last few years because I had a work-provisioned one, but I had been glancing at those tiny EEE PCs.

I like the idea of ultraportable "netbooks" because of the solid state storage, the small size, and the rabid developer/user community. is dumping some of the last-gen 16MB Eee 900 refurb units for under $200 shipped so I pulled the trigger on it. Comes w/XP but I plan on putting the tiny/superfast Puppy Linux on it. Since Puppy (or "puppeee", as the Eee variant is called) is entirely RAM-resident I picked up the max 2GB ram for $20.

Will keep you posted.

Conn's full of scumbags? No way!

I am shocked, SHOCKED to hear that Conn's is full of lying scumbags.

I went into the Conn's in Richardson (by Pho Pasteur) to get something trivial, and got hustled, hassled and generally enraged. It was a clusterfsck of the first order, full of ignorant/agressive salesjerks.

I came out to the car and swore to the Dear Wife that I would never, ever darken their doors again. So you can imagine my (lack of) surprise seeing the article above.


I posted a No Solicitors sign on my door. It does not meet COR standards for bringing the $500 (fine) hammer down, but might help keep the door-knockers at bay.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More handbills: Legacy Custom Painting

Here is Legacy Custom Painting (out of Garland) posting a handbill on my front door. Note that in the screenie you can see the timestamp in the file name.

I called COR at the 972.744.4800 number given as the contact point for solicitor violations in an archived Brief on the COR website. It was answered by the Richardson Police, who directed me to Dulce Luna. Ms. Luna was pleasant and confirmed:
  • We can call her directly at 972.744.4922 to check permit status of solictors
  • The public has no direct (web, print, etc) access to the solicitor database
  • The RPD cruisers do have access to the database through their MDT
And, germane to this particular post, Legacy Custom Painting does not have a solicitor's permit to distribute in Richardson. A trivial deal, you might say. Consider this: if you are hiring someone to do work on your house would you prefer to have someone that understands and follows the relevant residential codes?

I do understand that I may be at risk of obtaining crank status for following up on this stuff. But here is my logic:

  • The COR crime watch officer for our neighborhood has explicitly warned against doing business with people that appear on your doorstep.
  • He has also warned that appearing on the doorstep (or ringing the bell) may be a way to scope out locations for daytime burglary.
  • Highland Terrace has suffered significant daytime burglary activity lately.
  • Getting information on ALL solicitors helps ensure that I do not discriminate against solicitors based on [your pet peeve here].

Yes, I am in search of a No Solicitors sign to post at my front door. At that time I will provide evidence to RPD of all violations. But it's harder than it appears; the statute dictates the sign must be a minimum of 3"x4" and the lettering must be a min of 1" tall. I take a tape measure with me and have not found any signs meeting this criteria yet at walmart, lowes, home depot. I will report when I find one.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pickled eggs

Made some pickled eggs today. I was trying out an internet tip that fresh eggs hardboil easier if you steam rather than boil them.

I threw a dozen in the black and decker steamer and steamed for 20mins. They peeled easily, no breakage or waste.

The eggs should be ready after 10d in the fridge.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

hey, those free newspaper thingies went away

I just noticed that I haven't seen those freebie micronewspaper things out in the lawn for about a month.

Apparently they angered a lot of folks, but I didn't really mind. Got the weekend coupons on Friday and used some of them. Picked up and recycled the rest. I may have actually read the thing once every 3 wks or so.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TV: Glee

We have a TiVo/Myth wishlist set up to catch shows called "Pilot", which means it will catch pilot episodes. Most suck, but every once in a while you'll catch something great like Wonderfalls, Veronica Mars, BTVS, etc. Glee doesn't suck.

Dear Wife granted it a Season Pass, or would have it there were any new episodes coming up. But the series doesn't start until Fall.

Foreclosure: Richardson Heights shopping center

Some of the comments on this story suggest it may be a non-issue for the businesses there. I hope that's the case.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fence repair

At some point our wooden fence will need to replaced, probably with chainlink. For now we knocked out the rotted slats and replaced them with slats from Lowes.

It's not particularly pretty, but it's much sturdier and there is no danger of the dog busting out. Plus the COR aggressively issues code violations around here and I wanted to stay ahead of that.

Fireflies, Spring 2009

First fireflies of the season blinking away on our back porch tonite. I don't know why that always feels like a hopeful sign, but it does.

water main break?

Looks like something came loose near Grove and (guessing here) Melody. Water running off for a few blocks downhill from there. City trucks out there and the COR utilities channels carrying a lot of chatter.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drive-In: Star Trek

Just got back from the Galaxy Drive-in, where we saw Star Trek.

Neither the Dear Wife or I are Trek fans; the original series was cheesey-though-sometimes-charming, and all the movies were 10# of suck in a 5# bag.

Regardless, Star Trek was a truckload of fun. Movies like this (and Iron Man, to a somewhat lesser extent) remind us that summer blockbusters don't have to be bad and stupid in order to make money. I encourage you to see it, preferably at a drive-in reasonably near you...

Handbill poster: Greenville Church of Christ

The guinea pig for my new "get a permit" information campaign was a pleasant group of folks out canvassing in the light rain.

Polite, quiet, wearing their group's shirt, they appear to be doing it right. Starting the project out with an innocent group of folks hopefully indicates that I am trying to inform rather than pick on folks that I think are potential burglars.

Now, let's see if they have the permit.


The attached vidcap was taken on my front porch at 10:02am, 20090516.

Does your doorhanger distributor have a solicitation permit as required by the City of Richardson?

This is not a complaint. I have no particular opinion about your
service/product/group. I send these notes to handbill distributors to make sure I know who is is my neighborhood. Highland Terrace has been experiencing an increase in daytime burglaries and as a citizen involved with CrimeWatch I want to keep my eyes open.

Many groups seem to be unaware that the city can fine handbill
distributors $500/day unless the permit is carried "on thier person" or if attaching handbills when the resident has a No Solicitors sign. Getting the permits beforehand protects both your organization and my neighborhood."

Handbill posters

COR has a city ordinance requiring a permit be kept on one's person for solicitation and distribution of handbills (including door hangers).

Highland Terrace has, according to our CrimeWatch police officer / liason, been suffering an uptick in residental burglaries in the daytime. CrimeWatch has been asked to increase daytime patrols.

I had a relatively unpleasant interaction with two ATT fellows yesterday trying to sell me fiber optic everything. The first words out of my mouth were "I am not interested" but they kept fishing for information. I was polite and they finally left. This reminds me to get a No Solitictors sign, which needs to be a minimum of 3"x4" and have 3/4" lettering in order to have a binding effect on soliticitors according to the Richardson ordinance. Going to get it today.

But while I am pondering this, I got a handbill distributor on my porch. I have no complaint about them or their handbill, but thought I would roll out a new process that might help inform groups of their responsibility to get the permit. My email to them is in the next post.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

VIN Etching 5/28

See the image for details.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Canned some ground beef

This is what passes for excitement at my house these days. Canned about 7# of ground beef from costco in pint jars.

Last month I bought 10# of potatoes (on sale for something stupid like $2) and canned most of them. They are unexpectedly ugly and tasty.

Buckle up!

"Richardson PD high enforcement for seatbelt violations
begins on May 18th and runs through May 31st.

Richardson Patrol Officers will be making a concerted effort to enforce safety belt laws during this holiday

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DMN Richardson blog

Located here, and already producing interesting reading and lively comments.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Richardson restaurant health inspections

The scores show up here.

Nice think about that URL is that it is bookmarkable. I store it in my "View Weekly" group.

That's a pretty low score for the Corral this week... The lowest score I've seen recently.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bank in Kroger robbed (again)


Suspect left the area heading south, so I am guessing he's not a Richardson local.

Region10 Job Fair

How depressing.

Two questions:
  1. have you filled out our online application?
  2. what sport do you coach?
The online application process is a beating. To do a decent job takes about 2hrs each of real focus, and triggers off real-time requests to your references. It's not trivial for anyone involved other than the ISDs.

I will say that I was impressed by the spiel given by two entities, Forney ISD and a small charter system (Life Charter). The folks from both of those teams left the impression that they have their act together, and respected the attendees. Richardson ISD was brusque and Plano didn't even show up (leave your resumes here).

Many of the small charters for at-risk kids seemed fairly haphazard.