External House Work Continues

Fire be damned.  We’ve got this scaffolding that we’re paying by the day for, we need to use it.

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Getting the dryer vent *close* to the outside is good enough, right?  There’s a lot of half assed work we’re having to correct on this house.  Not as much as on our old Atlanta house, mind you, but that house was some 40 years older and had been a rental.

IMG_0949Funny – the day prior to this pic being taken she yelled at me for using a ladder up there.  You can’t see it from here, but that ladder isn’t just resting on the roof.  It’s a a sheet of OSB with a 2×4 lip secured to it.  The whole sheet’s nailed to the roof.   So this isn’t quite as sketchy as it seems.

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Framing out for a railing on the Door To Nowhere.  Eventually it’d be nice to do a deck, but we definitely don’t have the money for that, and I don’t have the skills to build a second story deck myself.

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Tearing up the steps to get the scaffolding where we need it.

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The upstairs deck is shit.  Shit I say!  I can’t believe they put a hot tub on this thing.  There’s a lot of work to be done here, but for the moment it’s just about exposing and fixing rot so we can paint.

Wherein The Neighbors House Tries to Burn Down

Last Tuesday the 9th, in the evening, I was in the kitchen doing dishes. Amanda returned from a pet sitting gig and said “Are the neighbors in back burning stuff again? There’s some smoke.” We looked outside just in time to hear a massive “whoomp!” And their garage essentially exploded.
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And thus we ran around like headless chickens.  We, along with probably every neighbor on the block, called 911.  We evacuated our ancient cat and the dog and bird that we were boarding at our house.  Various and sundry items were tossed into the car , just in case the fire climbed the fence to devour our house as well.  Luckily for us the wind was blowing southward, keeping the fire away from our yard… but only just.  Lots of explosions and what sounded like fireworks were going on.  Explosions were things like propane tanks for camp stove.  Fireworks = ammunition.

It felt like forever before the fire department arrived, but it was probably only 15-30 minutes.  During that time the flames managed to climb high enough to be seen over my house from the street.  Another neighbor has video that I need to get.  At the time I wasn’t thinking much about documenting the scene.

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These pics are from my street.  I did not go to the cul-de-sac where the burning house was – they’d roped it all off.

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They put the fire out quickly, though disconcertingly they left a bit of the roof burning for quite awhile.

Because it’s Oregon, and because it’s the east side of Bend, the talk inevitably turned to meth.  I tried to give the neighbors the benefit of the doubt.  Besides, the house didn’t seem to get kind of traffic you’d expect a meth lab to have.  Investigators pored through the place for the next 24 hours and came to the conclusion that it was a carelessly discarded cigarette.  Basically the guy had flipped a burning butt into a can of butts in the garage and left.  A half hour later the neighborhood was in jeopardy.

We spent the night in a hotel, as our house smelled terrible.  The folks who installed our heat pump loaned us a big air filter that we ran all week and it made a huge difference.  Other than the house in question the damage seems thankfully limited to the house next door to it, which had their fence burn down, what looks to be some siding damage, and their windows melted(!), and most of the surrounding houses suffered from smell and soot and ash.

Riley, and the rest of the neighborhood kids too, was quite shook up by the whole experience.  One little girl was in my house crying.  On the plus side, we met a lot of neighbors.  Nothing like a house fire to bring a community together!

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The next morning we came home from the hotel and I did my best to work and try to feel normal.  It wasn’t easy.  Thankfully we had/have our never ending painting project to force us to focus.  Indeed it has.

Windows 8 net shares: “An extended error has occurred,” “System error 2148073478″

So if you attempt to path to a share (eg: \\10.92.22.44\myshare) and are met with An extended error has occurred, or you use a DIR command with a network path and receive Invalid Signature, or your NET USE attempt is met with System error 2148073478 has occurred, here’s a fix.  Turn off required secure negotiation.  Copy the following into a text file and name it whateveryouwantto.reg.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters]
"RequireSecureNegotiate"=dword:00000000

Double click the file to insert into the registry.

Or if you like, add it manually: open regedit and path to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters.  Create a DWORD value named RequireSecureNegotiate and leave it set to the default 00000000.

Prep for paint

DIY continues.  The front pillars are falling apart, and I hate the way they look anyway, so it’s time for them to go.

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What’s a pillar on a house built in the 90’s?  A big PVC pipe.

IMG_0869One down.

IMG_0875Building an epic marble run with the remains of the pillars.

IMG_0871These little dudes are everywhere on the house.  CUTE!!!one1!

IMG_0876Slapping some paint on for a little instant gratification.

Windows 8 – Classic Shell and the Auto Reboot Irritation

I’ve moved on to Windows 8 on my primary laptop and desktop because, well, time marches on. Microsoft did well with 7. 8, not so much. 9 will probably be better. But I have to admit that things seem peppier on 8, especially my virtualbox vms. That may just be the byproduct of a fresh build though.

Two things I absolutely have to do with a fresh 8 install are to wrest control of the UI from the poorly conceived desktop-for-a-tablet, and stop the damned thing from force rebooting after updates.

When it comes to the UI, Classic Shell is your savior. And it’s free! Can’t recommend it enough.

Stopping the auto-reboot is a simple reg hack. In the editor, head to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Create the dword value NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers with a hexi value of 1. Or even easier, slap the below into a text file, rename it .reg and double click it to insert into the registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU]
"NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers"=dword:00000001

Toying with the SickBeard database – SQLite

I’m moving around a bunch of data managed by SickBeard because I’m running out of drive space.  While SickBeard nicely allows for mass changes, it isn’t so friendly when it comes to gleaning certain information, such as a list of shows that reside in a common path.  SQL to the rescue.

Currently SickBeard uses SQLite as its default database.  Head to SQLite’s download page and grab the appropriate copy of the command line shell (in my case, Precompiled Binaries for Windows).  Stick it in the install path for SickBeard, where sickbeard.db resides.  Because I like to be safe I made a copy of my database, which I named sickbeard_2.db, just in case I did something stupid and broke it.

In a CMD window, path to the aforementioned location and fire up SQLite:

SQLite3.exe

Open the database with

.OPEN filename.db

01

You can list tables simply with

.TABLES

02

We’re after the information found in the tv_shows table. Want to see the columns in that table?

pragma table_info(tv_shows);

03

This simple query gets me what I am after, which is all the shows located in the Toons directory:

SELECT location, show_name FROM tv_shows WHERE location LIKE '%Toons%';

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To dump the data to a file rather than to the screen:

.mode csv
.output FILE.csv
SELECT location, show_name FROM tv_shows WHERE location LIKE '%Toons%';
.output stdout

05

Find FILE.csv in the directory containing SQLite3 and the db.

Google Authenticator Application Passwords

I use Google Authenticator extensively, as I’m a big fan of multi-factor authentication.  In fact, I wish I could use it everywhere I’m required to input a password.

But when using it with your Google account it can get in the way of applications requiring access.  A thick mail client, for instance.  An app that publishes to YouTube.  An addon that syncs contacts.

They’ve solved this problem by allowing the creation of app specific passwords.  Works great.  But, as per usual with Google, finding the information you need can be problematic.  So, log into your Google account and head here:

https://security.google.com/settings/security/apppasswords

Windows 8.1 Clean install : We couldn’t find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load Driver.

“We couldn’t find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load Driver.”  That’s the message I got trying to install Windows 8.1 on a slightly used drive for my heavily used desktop.  Simply cleaning it in Diskpart solved the problem.   I

  • Open an elevated CMD window
  • Diskpart
  • List disk – find the disk you want to clean
  • Select disk XX – where XX is that disk number
  • Clean

that’s it.

The Harbor Freight Conundrum

People love to hate on Harbor Freight.  I’ve had people who don’t work with tools professionally, or regularly, or even occasionally – total non-DIYers – proclaim HF to be the “Wal-Mart of Tools” and vow to never buy anything from there.

And I sort of get it.  I’ve seen lots of equipment of questionable quality from HF.  But I’ve seen the same from Lowes and Home Depot, and even the mighty Craftsman name has been branded onto some real garbage.  Sears – once absolutely trusted for tools if nothing else – has fallen off, especially in the realm of power tools.

And some of us don’t need that saw that can handle being run 7 hours a day 7 days a week.  Some of us need it for a project or two.  Some of us just want to try our hand at something, and can’t afford to make an investment into professional level equipment to do it.

However, I’m definitely That Guy when it comes to “disposable” tools.  Disposable anything, really.  I hate cheap shoes, cheap printers, cheap anything that’s designated as throwaway rather than repair when it breaks.

So there’s a balance to be struck.  Is everything at Harbor Freight crap?  I don’t know… but luckily I’ve found a thread on The Garage Journal where pros and serious DIYers weigh in on their Harbor Freight purchases.  Some of the info within is expected – and some is surprising.  This thread’s an invaluable resource, I think.

The Deck Continues

I actually finished this awhile ago, but I’ve been engrossed in things other than posting to sites no one sees.

After opting to forgo fancy wire cabling deck rails in the name of being frugal, I decided to go traditional with the two unsafe areas of the lower deck that needed railing.  In the process I managed to recycle a lot of materials from that left at the house by the previous owner.

photo 1Running beneath the previously installed privacy screen.

photo 2The other side.  The railing here wasn’t missing, but what was there wasn’t tied in correctly on either side, and was wibbly and loose.  It was also constructed by the ubiquitous brad nailer the previous owner so loved to use on everything.

photo 3So I tore it all out and redid it, including redoing the stair bannister.  It’s much better.  You can get an idea of the “quality” of workmanship I’ve been dealing with by scoping out the rail on the upper deck.  It really seems like the railings were total afterthoughts.  I’ll be redoing the upstairs next.  Then I’ll put a sloped ceiling above the lower deck to divert precipitation and we’ll paint the whole mess something purty.