How-to: Which end do you peel a banana from?

Posted By on April 23, 2014


Saved a semi-educational filler post about a better way to peel a banana for a day when I didn’t feel up to posting anything else (video below). Pinch the butt end of the banana to split, then pull apart the peel. So easy.


Big Data and Predictive Analysis when it comes to airfares

Posted By on April 22, 2014

kayakpricetrendA post on the blog by Kaiser Fung this past weekend analyzed the prediction of airfares on Kayak (after the removal of Microsoft’s Bing Travel’s Farecast in January 2014), left me wondering if the days of successful Big Data’s Predictive Analysis are disappearing?

According to my read on Fung’s selective airfare routes research, you would be hard pressed to consistently beat the “buying tickets tow weeks ahead of your scheduled departure.” His results were mixed when using the “Price Trend” buy advice. Below was his graph comparing several flights indicating where following the Kayak advice saved him money … and when it cost him money by waiting. Still the temptation to save the $200 on the NYC-BOS flight by waiting 5 days will probably keep many penny-pinchers like me still thinking we can save a buck. 


Obit: Hawaiian paddle-out ceremony for Hobie Alter

Posted By on April 21, 2014


Hundreds of people paid tribute to sailing and surfing icon Hobie Alter to fulfill a request of a traditional Hawaiian paddle-out ceremony this past week. Surfers paddled out  to a spot off Doheny State Beach in California to celebrate the life of surf and sailing pioneer (photo below).

Hobie Alter was a 1950’s California surfer who began making custom surfboards in his parent’s Laguna Beach summer home back when “surfs” were made of balsa wood. He then teamed up with Gordon Clark to develop a much lighter polyurethane foam surfboard. The advancements were exciting performance improvements … and opened the enjoyment of surfing to all those who enjoy the beach and waves. Technological water sport advancements didn’t stop there, Mr. Alter went on to design affordable sailboats … one in particular could be beach-launched and is known as the Hobie catamaran. As they say, the rest is history.

See article

Archive: Follow up to my Air Conditioning on the cheap

Posted By on April 21, 2014

newacencoreWhile sorting through a few iPhone photos from the past couple of weeks, I realized that I didn’t update my “Air Conditioning on the cheap” post for Encore. The installation went as planned with both the new 4 inch deck plate mounted in the cabin side and adding the new higher shelf and strap setup for the portable AC unit. The loss of hanging storage may be something we regret if the liveaboard life ever becomes a reality, but having 10,000 BTU of cooling for only 9K in wattage is currently a worthwhile tradeoff. The unit will pull about a gallon of water out of the air ever 8-10 hours of running from my initial calculations and  seems to at least “condition” the air in the forward part of the boat (not much help in the aft cabin). It is far more convenient than a companionway “window unit,” cheaper then a built in marine air and way easier to use than the bulky previous Carry-on unit. So far, so good … should even run off my Honda EU 2000i generator at a buggy anchorage?


Happy Easter – As an American, be thankful for religious freedom

Posted By on April 20, 2014

It is Easter and no matter what else is happening in the world, it is a “Happy” Easter knowing He Lives. gbs_chinesetab

I was reminded the other day just how casual those of us living in a democracy take our freedom to worship … or at least some of need a reminder. My reminder came when a websiite I help manage for my friend Keith Thomas, had its access shut down in China (as well as a couple Islamic countries). The trigger, besides being a Christian Group Bible Study site, seemed to be a Chinese tab that I added early in the week to offer Chinese translations of study materials. Perhaps there is an automatic block in a few of the server locations which are triggered by certain “characters” or  combinations of words … or maybe the servers were just down for several hours? Nevertheless, after removing the “tab” and Chinese characters the site is once again functioning normal. Besides the recent Heartbleed bug, the incident is a good reminder to update server software and update to WordPress 3.9 on several servers.


For those who understand a relationship with a Volkswagen

Posted By on April 19, 2014

Tom Salt put together a 40th birthday celebration for his 1972 VW Beetle — a drive from Britain to the factory in Germany where the car was built. Nicely done Tom.

Video on Vimeo and a post on Katelyn’s goodbye to her 2001 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

Tech Friday: Checking for Heartbleed safe sites

Posted By on April 18, 2014

chromebleedwarnings140418No doubt you’ve heard about the latest vulnerability on the Internet known as the Heartbleed bug, but like most web users are pretty much helpless to do anything about it. You can change your passwords, run protection and antivirus software, but until the HTTPS sites correct their SSL sites … you’re spinning your wheels.

For some of us, it would just be nice to know when sites have been updated and fixes installed. Enter the ChromeBleed extension for Google Chrome browser users. Add it and watch for warnings, or set options to “show all notifications” to see the “All Good” note. (see CNET tip)

Back to running some biodiesel after a long time away

Posted By on April 18, 2014

mtgileadbiodiesel140417Let’s call this a follow up post on tracking fuel economy (or “non-economy”) as I took the opportunity to fill the 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel with B-20. My station of choice between Mansfield and Columbus Ohio is a Sunoco at the I-71 exit 151 and has carried a variety of domestic renewable fuels including B-2, B-10 and B-20 (biodiesel). The convenience and price are both reasons this station is preferred as I drive by going north and south (station could use a clean up and some relabeling). On Thursday evening the $4.04 price for B-20 was 6 cents per gallon higher than the dino-diesel making it “fairly” priced for an Ohio grown substitute. My advocacy has waned in recent years, but I’m still a supporter of domestically renewable options … sure would love to see it succeed on its own without government intervention … but the convoluted nature of politics and energy are too complex for the average Joe to figure out.

Although I missed a few Fuelly fills, the old Mercedes is going to need an overdrive gear in order to hit 30 mpg. (last 70+ mph all highway 360 miles was 24.81mpg)
Sad smile

Thoughts on my Honda Pilot and a check engine light

Posted By on April 17, 2014

my2006hondapilotI’ve been plagued off and on over the past few years with a check engine light that the computers say indicates cylinder misfiring. It seems to come and go, to the point I begin to ignore it until someone points it out again.

A few years ago, I suspected that I might have had a batch of bad fuel since it seemed to go off after a second or third tank. Then a couple years ago I had my buddy Tim at Mr. Godwrench replace the plugs and wires (not like the old days … or a diesel – grin!) thinking having so many miles on the original could be part of the problem. BUT … it appeared and disappeared off and on again.

patgossmw_enginecleaner2014 bgenginecleaners

Then it hit me after watching Motorweek’s Pat Goss discussing cleaning out the throttle body, injections components and build-up on pistons and cylinders, that it might be the fuel.

Since Shell Oil  loyalist, my wife Brenda, was in the car on a recent 2200 mile drive, we ran almost entirely Shell’s Nitrogen-enriched gasoline — PDF. Unlike my better half, I tend to shop for the cheapest regular unleaded that I can find … Brenda on the other hand will only burn Shell gasoline. Interestingly, the light came on after running another brand of fuel and now has been off since I’ve only filled with Shell. Maybe there is something to the quality of fuel being sold by different companies or the “cleaning and protective barrier” claims advertised by Shell? My situation has me once again rethinking my position on what I suspect is just a snake oil  additive business.


Katelyn looks good in her new 2014 Nissan Juke

Posted By on April 16, 2014


It is official … my daughter Katelyn is no longer driving a Volkswagen, let alone a TDI. She made the decision to go with a Nissan Juke which has her really excited. So far she loves this little cute CUV, although definitely will miss her little diesel. The new Juke has all the features she was looking for and was at a price point that made it more affordable than the Tiguan. Great technology, good gas mileage 27/32 mpg, sporty turbocharged engine, all wheel drive, great quality fit and finish along with snazzy youthful styling that appeals to Katelyn … and did I say is was RED?

Katelyn2014NissanJuke_insid Katelyn2014NissanJuke_rear
I can’t wait to see it … but also worry that my wife Brenda will want a new car. Smile

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.