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Roo and the Blackwing 602 Pencil

I've always had a love for good pencils. It goes back to my youth when I wanted to become a comic book artist. Last night, I realized my youngest son had found his pencil.

I was working with the boys on their schoolwork last night, and Roo was moving very slowly through his math work. He was writing very slowly and I thought he was just taking his sweet time in getting the work done.

As I looked a bit closer (I had been sitting at my wife's desk about ten feet away), I realized that he was struggling with a stub of a pencil. I watched for a couple moments and noticed he was having problems gripping the pencil.

Getting up, I moved over to his desk to see what was going on, and I found that he was struggling with the Blackwing 602 I'd given him a week ago. It now was a two and a half inch stub of a pencil with the eraser used up so it was flat with the ferrule. At this point, I said nothing to see what he'd do.

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Easy Pan Fried Chicken Strips

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner last night. Rummaging around in the kitchen, I dawned on me that I had everything I needed to make fried chicken strips... if I could pull it off. I've never made fried chicken, and since this was going to be my first attempt, I was a bit nervous.

Now, I'd seen my wife make all sorts of fried stuff, so I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do, so grabbing all the ingredients, I just jumped right in with both feet.

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Media

The Loud Owl In A Tree

So glad to have actually heard this loud owl in a tree about 25 yards from the house. I was sitting in the living room working on a website when I first heard it.

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Media

Procrastination: I've Put Off Writing This Post Too Long. LOL

Over the years, I've learned how to be very good at procrastinating about things I really don't want to do. I could put certain undesirable things off indefinitely. It's something that I've struggled with for as long as I can remember.

Right Now, Procrastination Is The Top Bad Habit I'm Crushing

Just about everyone can relate in some form or another to procrastinating over one thing or another. It could be a general disinterest in what needs to be done. It could also be the misplacement of priorities, but whatever the reason one can come up with to put off doing what needs to be done, the real truth is that it could result in one of the following unsavory outcomes:

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You Gotta Have The Right Tools To Get The Job Done

You've probably heard the old saying, "You need to have the right tools to get the job done" and for the most part, this saying is true.

I found it to be especially true if you're doing any amount of blogging or developing for the web.

Even as an integrator, or someone that knows just enough programming to be dangerous, I have found that my previous train of thought, you don't need more than a Chromebook to blog isn't exactly true.

Here's the story:

For years, I had a Toshiba A7200 laptop that was my primary laptop. It lasted me for over four years of everyday (and all day) use.

It was a powerhouse with a 4 hyperthreaded core processor, 24GB RAM and dual hard drives. I loved that machine.

In June of 2016, that laptop failed to boot up for the last time. It was right after I wrote the post "Fathers Day in Frankfort, MI 2016" that the A7200 met it's demise.

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Lentil Soup For A Cold Fall Sunday

I don't usually make the same dishes that I see friends make and share across social media, but this one is one that I just had to make. When I saw my good internet friend, Jay Boucher post a great picture of his lentil soup crockpot on Instagram, it was exactly what I was hankering for on these colder weekends. Asking Boucher of his recepie, I decided to follow suit, and add my own twist in the process.

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Fathers Day in Frankfort, MI 2016

As far as summer vacations go, this had to be one of the shortest on record for us (at least me and my oldest daughter).

We headed up to Frankfort, MI yesterday. It's a three and a half hour drive from our place and I knew I was going to have to come back this morning. 

Arriving there around 5, we met up with Dad, Mom, my brother's family and nephew at a cabin they'd got for the week. 

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San Francisco Taqueria, Battle Creek Has The Best Mexican Food

I really like good Mexican food, but it has to be authentic.

San Francisco Taqueria on Capital Avenue in Battle Creek meets all the requirements I have for authenticity.

While I may not be much of an expert on Hispanic cuisine, I do know what I like, and they got it. Specifically, it's the Mexican tacos that I go there for.

They're two six inch corn tortillas (one on top of the other) and are loaded with seasoned steak bits, onions and cilantro. Served with a lime, cucumbers and radish on the side, these little tacos are perfect for that lunchtime hunger craving.

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OK. Who Ripped One???

I am not amused.

There I was, sitting in my office, minding my own business when SOMEBODY had to come in here and tear one off.

Silent But Deadly (SBD)

You left my office. You left me to try and deal with your stentch.

Curses of a thousand chinchillas upon you for this abomination.

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I Want Nachos

It hit me all of a sudden.

Nachos. I. Want. Nachos.

Not that wimpy bareback chippie bowl and melted fake cheese nacho garbage.

I did a quick Google Search for loaded Nachos and came up with this recipe for Loaded Nachos from The Pioneer Woman's blog that really kicked the nacho desire into high gear. 

The recipe called for a lot of hearty goodness in those nachos, but hold the Avocado. I don't like avocados for whatever reason. Must have had a bad experience that is now buried somewhere deep in the subconscious. 

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Pastrami Joe's... A Battle Creek kind of Deli

While there really isn't much of a selection for a culinary enthusiast (AKA: Foodie) in Battle Creek, there are a few places that are worthy of mention. One of these places is Pastrami Joe's.

Founded in 2003, Pastrami Joe's is one of those kinds of delis that you walk into and stand there, gaping at the extensive menu for at least five minutes to try and figure out what sandwich you're going to get. It's the type of place that Alton Brown would just get one of everything in and call it a day:

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We're Going To The Alton Brown Live, Eat Your Science Show

My wife needs something fun to look forward to.

As a stay at home mom of four in the house, scheduling our lives, cleaning up after us (I'm Mr. Messy By Accident) and all the things that no one ever knows or hears about, she needs a break and something to look forward to.

The Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science tour was something she had wanted to go to for a while. I really wanted to take her as well. Alton Brown is one of our family favorites to watch, and now she's going.

Earning an affiliate commission from my Everyday Carry and drone review sites has not just enabled me to get the tickets without worry, but also has provided a lot of other great things for us... Like a car, excercise equipment and more.

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VKitchen in Ann Arbor

Trying out a new Vietnamese restaurant in Ann Arbor today. 

VKitchen, located in Ann Arbor (in the Colonnade shopping center) is very subtle and looks like just another strip-mall diner from the outside, but it would be a huge mistake for any Pho lover to pass this one up. Now, our family favorite in Ann Arbor, VKitchen offers a wide selection of Vietnamese cuisine including the usual appetizers one might expect to find at afr Vietnamese restaurant, Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), and of course, Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). As friends of ours know, Pho could very well be in the top five favorite things for our family, ranking right along up there with Korean bulgogi and bi bim bap, and we found that our pho today to be some of the best we've had.

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Crockpot Potroast

Got up this morning to wifey making a Sunday dinner that already has me drooling. Its a crockpot pot roast that got rubbed with fresh Garlic and herbs, and sits on a bed of potatoes, carrots and onions! Just can't wait! 

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XJapan Returns In 2016 After 20 Years

xjapanXJapan. I haven't though about them for 20 long years, with the only exception of watching the movie Windstruck with Jin late in 2006, and it's like going back to a part of my past that I nearly forgotten. I was first introduced to them sitting on a good friend's floor, playing a nintendo (the Japanese version) and listening to this band that screamed in a language I couldn't understand, but really liked.

XJapan was Japan's biggest metal band. From 1977, to "The Last Live" on December 31, 1997 they rocked their way into fame, selling out the Tokyo dome 18 times. XJapan's five member group was probably one of the most influencial of my junior high and high school life, resonating with many of the same feelings I had during those days. 

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My Workday Everyday Carry

It's really no secret that I have an interest in Everyday Carry.

While "everyday carry" is not survival preparations, it borders somewhere between life hacking and a life style. I have found great value in having the most essential things I want throughout the day with me when they're needed. 

It's the things like nail clippers, for when my nails start clackety clacking the keyboard if they start getting a bit too long, or a AA battery for my wireless mouse when it's old battery finally starts dying unexpectedly.

Having a few items that can get you through the day, while making your life better and easier really makes a difference in how you feel when you leave work.

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Hate Clinking of Keys On A Keychain? Get a Key Ninja

key ninja 320I got a Key Ninja -- something that my wife found for me and knew would be a nice gift. I used to carry all my keys, micro multitool and other stuff on my keychain, but the problem was that the high pitched clink as I walked drove my wife up the wall. There are many people that have an aversion to the sounds in the upper limits of the hearing spectrum, and the jingle of my keys would be one of them.

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Essentials To Keep In Your Car During Winter

Winter is the hardest season to cope with, and one of the worst things that can happen is that your car would happen to break down in the middle of nowhere in 32ºF or lower climates. My mom's side of the family lives in the Appalachian mountains in rural Pennsylvania, so it's a major concern and could be a crisis situation if the family car were to break down, or there was too much snow fall to continue driving, and we had to stay where we were. In such situations, if you're not well equipped, things could get very desperate fast, and your lives could very well be on the line (ref: James Kim).

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The Jumbo Versipack, A Weekend EDC Bag

I got the Jumbo Versipack a few months ago, and have used it on various occasions. It's a very tactical-looking shoulder pouch that carries anything up to a 7-8" tablet size object, plus a lot of extras in all the pockets. I originally got it thinking it would be a full time Everyday Carry bag, but later realized that on weekdays, I usually am carting around my backpack anyway, so I've created two different sets of everyday carry items -- one for work and one for weekends. The Versipack is perfect for when we decide to make a run over to Ann Arbor, Canton or any other day trip where we won't be back until late evening, while I have the work backpack equipped for more immediate needs during the workday.

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How To Blog With A Smartphone

The laptop is fine... I just wanted to see if it was possible to actually create a full blog post from my Samsung Galaxy S4 using the phone, an OTG connector, and a wireless mouse and keyboard.

I've wondered for quite a while if it was actually possible to create a blog post from start to finish on my mobile phone. While I do know it's possible using the on screen keyboard, it's also very cumbersome especially when the blog post is very long. The question is not really if it's possible in reality, but more along the lines of how to blog using a smartphone in instances where pulling out a laptop just isn't worth it or feasible.

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How To Optimize A Blog Post Title

The Title Of A Blog Post or Page IS Critical

Take a lesson from the newspapers... Headlines sell stories, and for a webpage or blog post, the title sells the sizzle. Unfortunately, it's not that simple, though. There's many things you'll need to think about when you come up with a title, so we're going to start right at the very beginning. How a headline sells the story. "ALLIED ARMIES LAND IN FRANCE IN THE HAVRE-CHERBOURG AREA; GREAT INVASION UNDERWAY! Screamed the headlines on June 6, 1944. D-Day had begun. With a headline like that, it would have been very hard not to pick up the paper and read more about the great invasion.

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Business Blogging Basics

You Started A Corporate or Business Blog, But How To Make It Perform?

You've read all the hype around starting a corporate or business blog. They said it's great for SEO. They also said it spurs customer interactions. They said it will help to increase your email signups... But how the heck do you do it?

I've seen countless blogs on business sites that have two or three blog posts, then the blog was abandoned because it wasn't performing as expected to. Let's get one thing straight:

It's Not The Blog's Fault That The Business Abandond Blogging

Corporate blogging works. When done right, it works beautifully. It does what's expected and more. Companies that do their blogging right see the growth in traffic, inbound marketing lists and increases in SERPs. So why do so many businesses stop blogging, if it works? I'll give you three reasons:

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How To SEO Content For Your Site

Optimizing your Content for SEO is critically important, but it's really easy to forget to write the copy to cater to a human audience as well. In our last SEO post, we looked at the ways to optimize the title, so naturally, I'll go into body copy next right here.

 First of all, you have to understand what SEO Content is:

"Seo Content" is a phrase used often by marketers, and it's broken down into two parts. SEO refers to search engine optimization, a topic that this whole section of the site is concerned about. The process of SEO is to optimize a website that would make it easier for users to find your site in the search results. The second part, "content" means text within the body of a website that can be used by people to gain information, make a decision or to take action.

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Being A SEO Superhero in 2015

seo superheroBeing an SEO Superhero in 2015 takes a ton of work. I've been up well past midnight almost every night for the last couple months. I do SEO and SEM on a lot of different websites these days, and search engine optimization doesn't happen overnight. When you first start out, SEO can be a bit daunting. How do you SEO a site? Where do you begin? How long does it take? Fortunately for you, I've been documenting what I do as I do it so that you can follow along on your own blog or website.

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How to SEO a Blog with Long Tail Keywords

Long Tail Keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Critical To Blog Success

Search Engine Optimization is an extremely important part of blogging. It can be really confusing when you're new, and there's a ton of information out there, both good and bad.

We will focus on just a few things (the low hanging fruit, if you will) that will help get you started with SEO on your blog. 

Long Tail Keywords

As you write your blog posts, it's important that you not stuff all the potential keywords you have into every article. You should really just focus on  one or two keywords on each post. By limiting your keywords, you avoid issues with search engines that penalize a post if it looks like you're just keyword stuffing. Also just using one or two keywords helps you focus on the post's topic. The goal is to optimize the post for those one or two keywords, not every single one.

Focusing on long tail keywords is key as you are targeting more specific searches than the more generic one or two word searches. For example, you can probably get better search engine rankings when optimizing for "Best Drones with Cameras" than just "Drones" or "Best Drones".

blogPost Title

The post title is ever so important because it not only tells the user what your post is about, but also the search engines. Your title should have the same keywords as you're optimizing the content for. You just have to make it fit 70 characters or less. 

Content (body)

Again, mention the keyword(s) naturally in your post content. As you might guess, you should include these keywords in the body, but only if it comes naturally and in a way readers would expect to see it. If you just stuff the keyword in randomly, the search engines could mark you down pretty quick for that.

Post URL

The Search Engines also look at the URL of your post to get an idea of what your post is about. Your URL should be close to the title and include the same keywords as the Title itself and the body content. You can eliminate stop words such as "and" and "the" to shorten the url. It is best practice to use "pretty URLs" as opposed to the default. A normal URL would look like this (Joomla CMS URL structure shown):
index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5
While a pretty URL would look like this:
sonkoral.com/Blog/Motivational/how-to-be-successful

Meta Optimization

Make sure to optimize the Meta Description for your post. This content will show in Google searches within the search results.

google-search-result-meta-description

The meta description is extremely important because it tells the reader what the post is about. It's also one overlooked selling tool when it comes to attracting people to your site.

Your meta description should contain the long tail keywords that you have used in the title, URL and content body. 

Canonical Tags

If you need to use the same content in different places on your website, make sure to use canonical tags to tell the search engine what actual post is the original. That way, the search engines won't think that you're just duplicating content all over the place.

Optimize Your Images with an ALT tag

Make sure that all your images have an alt description. This tells the search engines what the picture is, and also will give readers who use screen readers an idea of what the images are too.

Don't stuff the post tags

Tagging your post is a good thing, but not if you're using more than just a few. You want relevant, but different tags. If you choose tags that are two ways of saying the same thing, then most likely, the search engines will mark you down for that.

Use Internal Links

Whenever possible, use internal links to link relevant articles to each other. If you mention another blog post on the same site, such as my "URL Shortening with YOURLS" article, then of courst I'd want to link that to the article as I've done here.

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Tracking Trends for Content and SEO Link Building Strategies

So you wanna keep up on all the latest Viral trends, do you?

Keeping up to date on the latest trends is essential for anyone who wants to stay in the game on the internet. Knowing what's hot and what's viral with up to the second information can be priceless if you're an internet marketer or blogger. I've compiled a list of places that I go to see what everyone's talking about across the interwebs.

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Old Detroit Zoo Site VS New Detroit Zoo Site

detroit zoo new siteIt's been almost a year since my departure from the Detroit Zoo, the position of Web Developer and working on the Detroit Zoo site. Back then, I accomplished a great many things as an army of one with little corporate experience. Going through three major revisions of the website and through five different versions of Joomla as the Content Management System (Joomla 1.0, 1.5, 1.7, 2.5 and 3.x)

When I started at the Zoo, I knew enough to be dangerous, but I wasn't a coder. Rather, I was someone who was able to integrate code into the CMS that others had written. It was a great learning experience and taught me a great many things about Joomla, development and non-profit work environments, and I still appreciate the time I spent at the Zoo.

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Dokuwiki .htaccess File - Sample

So it came about that I setup a wiki, but chose to use dokuwiki rather than mediawiki because it was a flat file system and installed easily. I needed a way to change the ugly urls to fancy SEO'ed ones. I created the .htaccess file, then dropped this in there:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^_media/(.*) lib/exe/fetch.php?media=$1 [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^_detail/(.*) lib/exe/detail.php?media=$1 [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^_export/([^/]+)/(.*) doku.php?do=export_$1&id=$2 [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^$ doku.php [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule (.*) doku.php?id=$1 [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^index.php$ doku.php

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URL Shortening with YOURLS (Your Own URL Shortener)

Bitly VS YOURLS

bitly-logoAs of recently, I decided that using bitly was good, but I really wanted to have my own short URLs that I would use in posts and in Social Media. Bitly is good, but it really isn't that great when it comes to branding, so I began the search for a short URL that would work for me. 

The search began on Domainr.com. Domainr shows you all the combinations of a given word beyond .com, .net and .org. When you search for a name, it gives you all the combinations, using different domain extensions, and that's how when I typed in "Koral", I got kor.al for my short domain. Pretty cool so far. After registering the short URL through Host.AL, as it was the only place that sold the .al domain cheaply enough, I then turned my attention to the actual service I'd be using to manage my short urls.

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Subsonic 6 Raspberry Pi Zero Streaming Media Server

I've written a few Raspberry Pi tutorials, but when it comes to music, I wanted a media server that could play my music library anywhere I was at (with an internet connection, of course). The RuneAudio Raspberry Pi works well for music when I am sitting by the Pi and can jack in with my headphones or speakers, but if I'm at work, the Rune Pi can't pipe the tunes to me at my desk from home.

For this, I've chosen to run Subsonic, a free media server that can handle both audio and video files, and stream them to any web browser on the net, or a dedicated phone app.

While I could play my music on my phone or from the laptop, it's pretty cool to have your own server sitting at your house that you can play your music from anywhere you are, and accomplishes my goal of having a single source for media. I don't have to move media files to every device I have anymore. I just load the files to the Raspberry Pi and I'm done.

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Run Your Own Self Hosted CRM With SugarCRM On A Raspberry Pi

Having a good CRM is a no brainer. SugarCRM is an excellent SalesForce alternative if you're looking to save money.

Running SugarCRM on a Raspberry Pi costs less than $5 a year, and best of all, you own the data.

When I was freelancing, I used SugarCRM to manage accounts, contacts and relevant information through the engagement as it has all the features that both freelancers like myself and outside sales people need for collecting and retaining customer information.

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Rune Pi: Raspberry Pi Rune Audio Music Player

In my last post, I mentioned that I use an Original Rasbperry Pi Model A (2012 version) as a Rune Audio music player.

I use this little contraption both at home and work to play all the music I want, and it keeps my phone free to make and receive calls.

I found it annoying that the Samsung S4 doesn't automatically mute incoming messages and notifications when I'm jamming to music through the earbuds. Since I get a lot of notifications, the music cuts out just so that the phone can ding at me. Hate that. Also when calls come in, the music again mutes and pauses.

You just can't rock it out when the music keeps cuttin' out like that, so I found another solution.

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Raspberry Pi 3 Is On It's Way!

The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic little machine. I have quite a few of them, and my wife just ordered a Rasberry Pi 3 Model B kit from Amazon to add to my collection.

Right now, I have a Raspberry Pi Zero running Piratebox (Piratebox Homepage) that provides a Ad Hoc WiFi network for the kids to connect their tablets to and play Minecraft Pocket Edition (PE) in network mode.I also have a Raspberry Pi 2 running as our OMSC Media Center that's hooked to our TV. We did away with the chromecast when we found that we could get movies that just came to theaters in 1080P HD quality as opposed to waiting forever for Netflix or Hulu to get them.

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How To Build A Raspberry Pi Zero PirateBox

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a very small, fully functional computer that fits into the palm of your hand... literally. Due to it's small size, and 12 hour run time on a 4000mAh battery pack, it's ideal for use as a Piratebox.

The darn thing is only 2.55" (65mm) x 1.18" (30mm) x 0.2" (5mm) and fits easily into an Altoids tin.

Over the past couple nights, I've turned the Raspberry Pi Zero into a very small Piratebox that boots up in about 15 seconds and provides an Ad Hoc (computer to computer) Wi-Fi network. The Pirate box offers chat functionality, file upload/download and 4Chan style forum, all done off-internet.

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Raspberry Pi Webserver Project

I do love a good project, and this time it was building my second Raspberry Pi Webserver. While the first one was built on a Model B with 512MB RAM, this one is on a Raspberry Pi 2.

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Bypass MetroPCS Tether HotSpot Block

2015 MetroPCS / T-Mobile Tethering Guide (Updated)

Back on November 4 last year, I wrote a blog post on how to bypass the MetroPCS Tethering Hotspot Block imposed on all new phones from Metro.

This article serves as an update for 2015 since times and technology have changed on MetroPCS / T-Mobile.

MetroPCS is now using the T-Mobile service 100% which means that you're actually using the T-mobile towers with your MetroPCS phone. The biggest difference is that when you go to activate tethering on your MetroPCS phone, and you don't have the $40 or $50 plans that have limited 4G data, you'l; get a stupid error message that you have to add tethering.

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Keep your Family In Sync with a Raspberry Pi and OwnCloud

owncloud-raspberry-pi

Build a "Local Network Only" File and Document Repository (Like Dropbox)

Keep your family documents in a safe and secure location that only your family can access

Wouldn't it be nice to have one place that the family could store all documents and files that everyone can access, but was not open to the whole world. While using a service like Dropbox or Box is fairly good, you'd wanted to keep certain things off the internet completely.

This private "dropbox" alternative could be used for:

  • Bill payment receipts
  • Medical Information
  • Car Information
  • Mortgage Information
  • Email and Web Accounts
  • Various Log In information
  • Kid's school papers
    • Anything else you don't want out there.

A $35 Computer - The Raspberry Pi

raspberry-pi-type-bProbably one of the best inventions for ultra-cheap computers out there, the Raspberry Pi makes perfect sense for anyone who needs a full time, always on computer at home that doesn't suck a lot of power. On the flip side, the computer is not that powerful, so it's not like you could use it for hardcore gaming, like playing WOW or Counter Strike (You could, however, use it to play Minecraft)

This makes it a perfect platform for light duty home web hosting, file sharing and a bevvy of other tasks. For this post, we're using the Raspberry Pi as a file sharing tool, much like Dropbox. 

File Repository with ownCloud on the Raspberry Pi

Next, in order to upload and download the files, you need to have a user friendly interface that you would be able to use while on the home network only. For this, look to the software ownCloud

ownCloud provides universal access to your files via the web, your computer or your mobile devices. It also provides a platform to easily view & sync your contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all your devices and enables basic editing right on the web.

More information on ownCloud

Two Installation Methods Available

The first way to install ownCloud on a Raspberry Pi is to download the complete OS image and install it using win32diskimager, and the other is to manually install it yourself using the base Raspbian image.

The guys over at ownCloudBlog have created a premade optimized image that includes the ownCloud install.

What else is there over and above standard Raspbian? Good that you asked. Here is a list of minor tweaks that I did:

  • PHP execution time is increased to 240 seconds.
  • Default upload limit of PHP is increased from 2M to 512M.
  • Default POST is increased to 512 M.
  • .htaccess support is enabled in Apache to protect data directory.
  • SSH access is enabled by default.
  • SQLite is used for backend database.
  • Certain packages like Scratch, Oracle Java and Dilio are removed in order to make squeeze the image in 2GB SD Card.

View the Full Post here -- includes download links.

How to install ownCloud on Raspberry Pi yourself

There is a really good tutorial on instructables that walks you through the ownCloud installation from start to finish using an external hard drive so that you can store a lot more than the SD card could hold. This is the tutorial I followed to setup our family's Raspberry Pi. There is also a link in the second paragraph of the post that links to a complete installed OS image if you don't want to take the time to do it yourself.

View the full post here

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How to Tether a MetroPCS - T-mobile Phone 4G Unlimited Hotspot with Windows

T-Mobile-Metro-PCS-Logo
The $60 MetroPCS plan allows unlimited 4G, but blocks tethering.

This post has been updated for 2015 at this location:

>>  <<

We show you how to use your $60 plan to get that unlimited 4G on your laptop using your phone to tether or as a wi-fi hotspot

As of this writing, MetroPCS service in the Detroit market blocks tethering your CDMA (older Samsung S3 and similar) MetroPCS phone directly to a Windows seven computer with just a few website exceptions. The way the block works is that it looks to see what operating system you're running, and if it's windows, it will block you. The new 4G T-Mobile phones that use GSM / SIM cards are heavily guarded against tethering, so your only option is #4.

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Best Pencils - Polamino Blackwing Review

Palomino BlackWing: The Best Pencil That You've Probably Never Heard Of

I am still an analog kind of guy.

While all the tech that surrounds me on a daily basis is nice, when it comes to down to it, nothing beats a good 'ol #2 pencil and a fresh Cahier notebook.

Over this past weekend, I was wandering around downtown Ann Arbor with my nephew and two sons. Our primary goal was to hit the Vault of Midnight, which is a comic book shop, but I also wanted to stop over at Peaceable Kingdom as I heard they were going out of business soon.

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My Fold Journal & Trekker Space Pen

I have to admit... I love a good notebook. Still mostly an analog writing kind of guy. Over the past year, I've used Moleskine, Field Notes, Piccadilly and Tul Notebooks, but the pocket notebook is my favorite for jotting down quick notes and tasks. Coming in the standard 3.5" x 5.5" size, most pocket notebooks are pretty much the same, but I just discovered the Fold Journal, and it's now my favorite pocket journal.

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$10 Nitecore Tube Review

I've been carrying the Nitecore Tube Rechageable LED Flashlight for about three months now.

I've always wanted to try doing video reviews as well, so I decided to try one finally.

Since there's not a really good place in the house to do videos when the family is sleeping, I decided to do videos out in the garage, and it seems to work very well. The lighting is decent and I don't wake anyone up with my ramblings.

I felt a bit nervous doing a video for some reason, but after the third take, it felt about as good as it was going to get, so I just ran with it.

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Media

My 30 Day ChromeBook Review

The Google ChromeBook might seem useless to most people, going the way of the netbook (remember those) as a useless ultra-portable computer, but after 30 days of using it, I would beg to differ. Specifically the model I have is an Acer Chromebook 11 (Model# CB3-111) in white. It's 11" screen isn't the lavish retina display that you would get on a Mac air, but at the same time, the Chromebook doesn't cost $1000 either.

Portability

One of the best things about a Chromebook is it's portability. Mac Air users will know exactly what I'm talking about -- the ability to close the lid, slide it into a satchel or courier bag and go is extremely handy and convenient. I love taking it with me when I pick up the kids at school because I have to be there 20 minutes early to get a parking spot. While I'm waiting, I tether to my mobile and I'm up and running in less than a minute.

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4PM Friday: Rock Crystal Edition

4PM Friday is a weekly series of what I've been up to for the week.

How I'm Feeling:
Lost and Unfocused.

I realize that I've been feeling a bit lost these days. I haven't been in to drones lately, and I realized that I've been really scattered in my thoughts as well as interests lately. I've written a few blog posts, but I've discovered that I need to focus on one hobby and one website for now. That's why I've come back to this one.

What I'm Testing: Mechanical Keyboard with Blue Switches

I've been putting the One Up Mechanical Keyboard through punishing tests this week. It's a nice 87-key keyboard that's meant for gaming, but I've decided that I really like the feel of a clicky keyboard more than standard membrane keyboards (Thanks to One Up for sending me this keyboard. Look for a full review later on this month)!

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