I recently ordered a Monoprice Maker Ultimate to get in to 3D printing.
I’ve been printing every day since it arrived, tweaking my settings in Cura, adding text to objects in TinkerCAD, and printing printer upgrades like a new spool holder, and some extruder, ribbon, and filament guide clips. I’ve added sound dampers for the X and Y axis (had to print a bracket for the Y-axis motor), and plan to install quieter fans soon. I recently ordered a digital caliper and hope to design some pieces of my own. First on my list is a new grate cover for my basement drain. I also installed Octoprint on my Raspberry Pi Zero W and intend to set up remote administration as soon as my basement is finished and the printer is moved to its permanent home.
You can check out some of my prints here. A few of my favorites are the tunnel I printed for my son’s wooden train table and the headphone holder I printed for a friend’s daughter to use on her keyboard stand.
Next up is a nice birdhouse to hang in the coming spring.
It was a busy year.
I spent the year doing this stuff:
Our son had his second birthday and started pre-school. Our daughter turned 15 and started high school! We are definitely still budgeting. We got a new car. We placed 120 orders on Amazon in 2017. I put 5,047 miles on my Mazda CX-7. We are still members of the Saint Louis Zoo, got a yearly pass to Grant’s Farm, and members of the Magic House. We’ve renewed all but The Magic House for 2018. It was the year of the yard and house around here.
Our old deck was taking up a large portion of the yard and becoming overgrown.
So, we had it removed and put up a fence on the north side of the yard.
We were initially going to create a soft playground surface with mulch and so seeded up to the division fence. Seed came in amazingly and then an area was damaged by concrete installation. 🙁
Ultimately, we decided to finish the rest with sod.
Then, we put this monolith up on the sodded area. Also, you can see we stained the fence. My grass looks brown here. We had a hard summer, but it rebounded in the fall beautifully.
We put in two new slabs of concrete.
We painted the house from a gross yellow to a nice taupe.
We also got new gutters and had a grape trellis installed for this coming year. I’ve secured new grow boxes for 2018 and will have a huge garden with automated watering! We even got a new grill, gas and permanently mounted in the ground. Our little plot of paradise gets better every year.
My wife and I both got new jobs! She is now a VP at a large banking company and I now work IT for our local school district. Our QoL is much better!
In January, we took the kids to Walt Disney World. My wife took our son to Treasure Island with her mom and sister in October for some beach time. In December, I took our daughter to Florida to visit my parents in Vero Beach and for one day at Disney World. We rode the new rides in Pandora at Animal Kingdom!
Tech, Software & Gaming:
I’m still using Arq to backup the house. My work-provided Google Drive is currently holding 752 GB from all machines.
Wife got a new Macbook Air. We replaced the Amazon Echo Dot with a Google Home Mini. I had to put a new HDD in my iMac as the original failed. We got a new Nikon D5600 DSLR. I got an Apple Watch 3 LTE and it’s honestly the BEST piece of tech I have purchased in a long time. After having one, I cannot believe I lived for so long without one. I built a new media server, on which we are running Plex, Sonarr, and Radarr. In my initial config, I used Linux. I never got the hang of it with it’s strange permission requirements for drives and ultimately switched to Windows 10 Pro. It’s been rock solid and pretty hands-free. I’m very happy with the set up and the lack of maintenance required. It just works!
I also spent the year playing Inside, Emily is Away, Emily is Away Too (AIM chat simulator games. holy crap. want more.), Stardew Valley (137 hrs), Factorio (84 hrs), and The Flame in the Flood on PC. I got a Nintendo Switch and played Breath of the Wild (152 hrs), Super Mario Odyssey, Stardew Valley, Golf Story, Mario Kart 8, and Overcooked co-op.
I got heavily into vinyl, though I have been a major slacker updating my vinyl collection page. I hope to get them all cataloged soon. My favorite acquired records are Jazz Loves Disney (vols 1 and 2) and Ray Conniff’s We Wish You A Merry Christmas, which is the album my dad played for us growing up.
2017 was a great year. Big plans for 2018.
We’ve been hobbling along with a Mac Mini as our PleX server for the past few years. I’m becoming quite a data hoarder and the poor Mini can’t keep up with my appetite so it was time to move to something a little more serious. I built JDM_WAAAT’s “Thread-Runner” config and hope to migrate my data this weekend.
My config and cost:
|Case||Phanteks Enthoo Pro||New||$80|
|Motherboard||S2600CP Intel LGA2011||Used||$140|
|Processors||2x Intel Xeon Processor E5-2650||Used||$105|
|CPU Coolers||2x Arctic Alpine 20||New||$37.50|
|RAM||32 GB DDR3||Used||$62|
|SSD||SanDisk Ultra II||Used||$0|
|HDDs||4x 2TB WD RE Enterprise HDDs||Used||$160|
|PSU||EVGA - 80 PLUS 600W ATX||New||$35|
|Cables||SATA Cables & PSU Splitter||New||$16.50|
|Case Fans||5x Arctic F12||New||$25|
|Operating System||Linux Mint||$0|
As you can see, a lot of the major components were purchased used which I sourced primarily via eBay. There’s a lot of power (16 cores / 32 threads) and a bit of storage (9TB). It’s quite a build at a very reasonable cost. Assembly was easy. The Phentoo case is amazing. I really like the HDD cages (no screws required) and the cable management behind the motherboard. I encountered two minor hiccups and was able to resolve them quickly. The machine was booting to EFI and required disabling in BIOS to boot to USB and the NIC was not enabled, also resolved with a quick BIOS switch.
I’ll be running it headless and administering via Muximux and running PleX, SABnzbd+, Sonarr, and Radarr. I’m going to cheat and use AtoMic Toolkit to get it all done. The SSD will host the OS and metadata/thumbnails for speed and I’ll throw the data to the HDDs. The Western Digital HDDs are enterprise/data center certified and rated 1.2 million hours MTBF. Impressive!
After migrating data, I’ll be backing up using Duplicati to my unlimited Google Drive.
I’m really interested to see what else I do with this box. It should be all we need for several years (save for a few more HDDs)!
About a month ago, my wife totaled her car. She was driving a well-appointed Ford Fusion that we bought right before our son was born to replace her decaying Honda Accord. I had a love/hate relationship with the Ford. I loved its features and room, but I absolutely hated the way it drove. It was a very quick car, but I could never get used to its handling or very abrupt braking. Truth be told, after I learned she was ok, I was happy the car would be out of our lives. So, we went car shopping and were within days of purchasing a fully-loaded 2018 Subaru Outback. I really really liked the Outback after taking it for a test drive and put a deposit down on a new one coming in off the truck in the color my wife liked (that I didn’t like, but I’m sure you know how that goes.)
On a whim, one Saturday last month, while waiting for the Outback to come in, we decided to stop into Mazda and take a look at the CX-5 and CX-9. Let’s hop off on a tangent here, really quickly. I love Mazdas. I have owned several. My first car was a ’96 Protege. I then owned a ’03 Protege, a ’07 Mazda3 hatchback, and my current car is a 2010 CX-7. I told my wife, after the accident, “We can finally get that new CX-5!” I had been trying to convince her for over a year to dump the Ford and get a CX-5. Ok, back to the dealership. The CX-9 is a really nice car. It’s huge and has three rows, but to get it loaded with all of the features I wanted would have pushed upwards of $45k.
Enter the CX-5. We test drove the CX-5 and my wife immediately fell in love. I knew the Subaru was off the table the second she sat in the seat. Her face lit up and we both remarked how the car drives exactly my CX-7. So, we drove a 2017.5 pin-striped Snowflake White Pearl Mica AWD Grand Touring CX-5 with Premium Package off the lot. Navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear heated seats(!), heads up display, Bose audio. Oh man. This car is sexy.
Oh Mazda, I can’t believe I was ever going to cheat on you with a Subaru. What am I? Some kind of Subaru-driving lesbian? Pssshhhh. (No offense to Subaru drivers, lesbians, or Subaru-driving lesbians).
I recently got a Nintendo Switch and have been spending hours and hours playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I am sucked into this open world and count the minutes until I am free to play again. I have played the majority of the Zelda series, including the Legend of Zelda, Zelda II, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time (swoon), Majora’s Mask (swoon), Wind Waker (swoon), Four Swords, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword.
There’s something magical about Breath of the Wild, though. It’s the open world, ability to do just about anything you dream of, the slated DLCs, massive map, complex dungeons, weapons system, numerous side quests, cooking system, clothing upgradability, and the numerous shrines. I paraglided and mounted a wild horse without touching the ground! I love this game. I love the format of the Switch. Zelda is back!
My birthday is in a few weeks and my wife got me a Denon DP-300F turntable. I hooked it up in my bookcase, wired it to a new Insignia NS-STR514 Bluetooth 2-way receiver (which also supports FM radio), drilled some holes and ran some new Polk T15 bookshelf speakers. This setup is quite the upgrade from the basic wireless speaker we have been using. We were also playing music through the TV, but the sound bar doesn’t sound too great. I also intend to Bluetooth our Echo Dot to the receiver for Spotify playback.
I’ve bought a few records and intend to grow my collection. I’ve set up a wishlist on Discogs and hope to score some good deals on some wanted records. I’ve set up a subdomain with my collection and you can view it at vinyl.aeonn.net. I’ve also added a link to it in my sidebar. I really want to secure the John Mayer 180g records. I have Battle Studies thus far, but have to save up for the others. I intend to spend a lot of my “hobby money” on records, but some of them are so darn expensive. Continuum will likely be my next purchase.
We’re then heading back to Orlando for a quick three night stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Check out the pool.
We’re only going to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT as we don’t think Paul, 19 months, will be able to tolerate a longer trip right now. We booked the trip last minute, so didn’t get any reservations for Be Our Guest. We really like the lunch there. We did get a reservation for Via Napoli for dinner at EPCOT and got FastPasses for rides. I am very excited to take the baby on rides like Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover!
We also got MagicBand 2.0s. I nearly completed my collection of the 1.0s, but never did get or want a pink one.
We’re ready to go!
It was a busy year.
I spent the year doing this stuff:
My son had his first birthday and my daughter turned 14! We are definitely still budgeting. I placed 108 orders on Amazon in 2016. I baked a lot of bread and continue to do so; however, my house is so cold in winter that it takes a long time for my doughs to rise so I am looking forward to spring. We became members of the Saint Louis Zoo, got a yearly pass to Grant’s Farm, and became members of the Magic House. We’ve renewed all for 2017. I upgraded(?) from a Billet Box to a Reuleaux RX200S and am using a Smok TFV8. It lives up to its name as the cloud beast. I also have been using The Sauce LA‘s juice and like their Open Road, Caramel Waffle Cappuccino, and Get Your Kicks.
My daughter and I went to Los Angeles and saw the sights. We visited Galcos (and got a slew of sodas), Disneyland, and Catalina Island where I let her illegally drive the golf cart. She wrecked it and I caught it on video!
My wife and I took our kids back to Port St Joe, FL. We rented a cabin ($100/nt!!) and spent a lot of time at the beach. We saw the Milky Way at night and caught both a sunrise and sunset. I bought binoculars, Nikon 8249s, and watched the ships out on the ocean. It was a fantastic trip and I look forward to booking the next and going back. I would love to buy a piece of property and potentially retire there. We tried to get into Indian Pass Raw Bar, but the place was packed so we ate at KrazyFish in downtown Port St Joe. It was great.
Tech, Software & Gaming:
My iMac crashed on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, I was able to completely restore all of my data with Arq. I have since configured it on all of my machines and my wife’s Mac. Data loss is not an option! My Amazon cloud drive is currently holding 1.2TB from all machines.
I am still playing The Long Dark. At 2015’s end, I had 253 hours logged. I am shocked to say that I ended the year with over 750 hours played. That’s approximately 1.36hrs played per day. I do not play it every day, and sometimes go weeks without playing. When I do play, it seems to be an all-day binge! As of now, I have 796 hrs on record.
Beyonce: Lemonade – Wiki
Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book – Wiki
Chris Stapleton: Traveller – Wiki
Frank Ocean: Blonde – Wiki
Kanye West: The Life of Pablo – Wiki
Ray LaMontagne: Ouroboros – Wiki