*blogging my VB vs. IPB crap for future reference*
vBulletin = FAIL
[ame=http://forums.ancientclan.com/showthread.php?t=9752"]vBulletin = FAIL - Ancient Clan Forums[/ame]
Here is the email I received from vbulletin:
The vbulletin team announced that vBulletin 4.0 would come out by the end of June 2009. It is October 14th today and with an announcement like this and a new website, you would think vbulletin 4.0 has finally been released! But no! It is still in alpha testing, there is no demo available and I have been given the opportunity to purchase the upgrade to the suite for the $130 discount for only 16-17 more days. And they still have not announced when the vb 4.0 version will even come out.
And even though I bought the blog add-on for $50 a year ago, I get the same discount price as someone who only owns just the forum license. wtf.
When my license support renewal is up, which last year would have costed me $40 for updates, will now cost me $195 for the new license if I haven't paid the $130 or more by then to download vbulletin 4.0 which may still not be out by then considering they are 4 months behind schedule with no product.
So. We will probably continue running vb 3.8 until we find another alternative or vbulletin changes their pricing structure (which I'm sure they won't). I wouldn't mind paying for new forum software, we've spent plenty on vb over the years with renewal costs and one time purchases. But I can't justify staying with the company because of the part I have put in bold above.
If we use just the forums and pay the initial upgrade price of $195 or so in january and switch to a free blog system because the version we have won't be compatible with vb 4.0... we'll still be stuck with another issue. Once vb 5.0 comes out (which should be 12-18 months according to a staff member), we'll have to buy a brand new vbulletin license for version 5 at the full price of another $195. And assuming a new major release then comes out every 1 or 2 years, it'll be hundreds of dollars every year or two just to keep using this software that still doesn't do everything I want it to do.
I'm really starting to hate vbulletin. If I want to stay with this forum software, the only way I'll save money is by paying the cheaper upgrade cost of $130 which gives me the entire suite, but I only have 16 days to make my decision or pay $200 in January and only get the forum software.
Anyone have any forum or blog recommendations? I was thinking about invision power board, but they're in the process of releasing a new cms like system and I don't know if that will be bundled in with their current suite. But even ipb is $250 for the suite with $60 renewal costs. But even that price is better than the new vbulletin price structure. Apparently, I have to make a decision within 16 days. *kicks vB in the balls*
In my previous blog post I showed my new smoker:
New Brinkmann Smoker (ECB) El Cheapo Brinkmann
But the smoker didn't work out all that good right out of the box. These are the following modifications I've made to it:
When I first got my smoker I put a grate at the bottom of the charcoal pan because I read that a grate will help in keeping ash buildup from blocking the air flow. This was not entirely correct. What I needed to do was have the grate about an inch off the bottom so that air flow can reach every piece of coal while allowing ash to sift down to the bottom. So my first modification was to use some pliers and bend the air fins open more to allow more airflow. Because I'll be able to control the airflow with another modification, I wanted to make sure the airflow would not get restricted by ash buildup. The second mod I did was to install three carriage bolts with nuts 1 inch from the bottom of the pan. This allows me to set the grate on the bolts and gets me the airflow I want. Before doing this, I attempted to use 3 equally sized rocks to lift the grate up.. Not a good idea. It worked but it didn't. The rocks change the flow of air and also absorb heat and break. Installing permanent bolts was the only real solution. Using a drill I made three holes 1 inch from the bottom and installed the bolts. I didn't want to use carriage bolts but they were the only ones I could find for the size and length I wanted to use at the local hardware store. These bolts worked out fine in the end because they didn't sit to far away from the pan's sides to affect how it sits in the base pan.
The next modification was the most time consuming. I needed to control the airflow of this smoker. This smoker has two vents. The bottom vent which is a hole about 2 inches in diameter and the other is the gap where the lid sits on the body of the smoker. The lid does not go on with a solid seal and is designed that way so there is no need for an air vent on the top. I have seen other people modify their ECB lids by installing an oven gasket around the rim to make it have a solid seal and then installing an aftermarket weber charcoal damper on the lid. However, I did not do this.. I am more concerned about the airflow coming into the smoker at the bottom than restricting or increasing the airflow from the top.
Here is what I did.. I drilled three holes into my base pan. One of those drill holes was a mistake which I'll explain in a bit. I used one bolt along with a washer, lock washer and lock nut to connect a pickle jar lid to the base of the pan. I needed to drill 2 holes into the jar lid. One to keep it connected to the base pan and the other to act as a slot for the metal control rod. Using a washer, lock washer and lock nut, the lid will stay connected without unscrewing the bolt due to repeated opening and closing. I drilled another hole into the side of the base pan to allow the metal rod to protrude out the side. This is where I messed up. I drilled the hole too high up. Once I had everything in place, I put the charcoal pan into the base pan and realized it was weighing down on the metal rod preventing me from using it correctly. So I drilled another hole right at the bottom of the side and then the pan fit perfectly. Of course this left me with a hole I had to plug up. Thankfully I the smoker came with some extra bolts and nuts and I simply used one of those to seal off the hole.
The biggest problem with this was the metal rod I was using. I had an old metal sign holding post that I decided to use because it was tough and it already had one end of it bent into a crude loop from a previous project. This was some sturdy metal. After cutting it to the right shape, I was unable to bend it by hand. My bolt cutters have metal bending rods on it and I was able to use those to bend the metal into the angles I needed. This was a pain. I forgot to take a picture of the underneath of the base pan. Its basically a piece of metal bent in three places. Once at a 90 degree angle to fit through the jar lid hole, then another bend to keep the metal from scraping the ground, and then a third bend to keep the metal from scraping the bottom of the pan. In the end it worked out good because the piece of metal has just enough weight to it that it feels sturdy and it won't disconnect. With this done, I now an adjustable damper and I have full control over the airflow.
A different angle:
Now that I can open and close the damper to whatever amount of air flow I want to allow in, I need to be able to tell what the actual temperature of the smoker is. For this I needed to add a new thermometer. Adding a new thermometer was easier than I thought it would be. All I needed to do was drill one hole and then use a piece of simple lamp hardware found in my local hardware store's electricity aisle. Its a threaded feed-through with 2 nuts. I can't remember what the actual thing was called on the package in the store, but its basically a brass tube that is threaded for nuts to attach to it like a bolt. Its lamp hardware because electric cords usually go through the opening to the light bulb. But for me, the opening will be for my new thermometer. The hardware store only sold the things in a pack of 8 in varying sizes and the nuts were on the shelf just below them, also in a pack. I used either a 1 or 1 1/2 inch feed through with two nuts. Using a couple pliers I tightened the two nuts and kept the bulk of the feed through on the inside of the smoker to keep the thermometer level. I've seen some people recommend candy thermometers, but I chose instead to get a new Weber thermometer off amazon. Because the thermometer itself isn't installed, I can take it inside and clean it after every use.
Outside look. I installed it right above the charcoal door:
Inside look. Two nuts holding it in place. Pretty simple. I also bent this slightly downward to make sure the thermometer sits a bit more tight.
This new thermometer is significantly better than the one that came with the smoker. I can now get the smoker up to 250 and using the damper on the bottom, I can make small adjustments to the airflow and maintain a constant cooking temperature.
And here it is all completed:
Resources I used for this project:
Back in May of this year I bought a new Smoker because I've been thinking about trying out smoking food for a couple years now. I've gotten pretty good with a standard grill, but I wanted to improve my slow cooking skills and try something new with different flavors. After watching numerous seasons of BBQ Pitmasters, I became inspired to finally try out charcoal smoking.
Instead of buying something expensive, I shopped around, looked at reviews, different makes and models and I decided to go with a vertical charcoal water smoker. A vertical water smoker works by having a heat source at the bottom, a water pan in the middle of the smoker that provides hot moisture, and two cooking grates. One directly over the water pan and the second at the top of the smoker. Because the water pan is almost as wide as the smoker itself, it causes all the food in the smoker to be cooked with indirect moist heat. Vertical water smokers are also cheap. Some offsets are cheap also, but many of the low end vertical water smokers are under $60.
After reading many reviews, I decided to get a Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. There is a large community of people that use this exact smoker and have shared numerous modifications they have done to improve it's performance. After reading about smoker modifications I was a bit concerned. Why would a new product need modifying? Well, I found out the answer.. If I wanted a smoker that would work amazing right out of the box, I'd have to pay $300 for a Weber Smokey Mountain. So, no.. I decided to go with something cheaper and modify it if needed, hence why these Brinkmann ones are nick named the ECB (El Cheapo Brinkmann). I'll only be using this smoker about 5 months out of the year and not even every week. For what I wanted to do, I figured $90 on amazon was good enough. For that price I also got the smoker cover, which turned out to be better material than I thought it would.
Unfortunately, amazon shipped this smoker horribly. The box looked like it was kicked a few times and I had to hug the metal of the body and the lid back into a fully circular shape. As well as bending the door into a shape that would close correctly.. I also needed to use a rubber mallet and hammer out one ding in the body. I was not please with the condition, but after full assembly the smoker looked great.
Here are some pictures of the Smoker new and in use for the first time:
I never used charcoal before so I had to buy a new charcoal chimney starter and some charcoal. I decided to get the weber chimney and go right for the royal oak lump charcoal. After reading all the safety information about charcoal lighter fluid and how you need to let the charcoal burn out for at least 20 minutes, etc. I had no interest in using it.. thats why I got the chimney starter. Along with some newspaper I'm able to get any charcoal started burning safely. That and I have a friend that uses the same style of chimney to start his charcoal grill. Very simple to use.
The bottom of the smoker is a charcoal pan with air vents on the bottom. Charcoal is controlled completely by air flow. I added a grate at the bottom because I read that burned charcoal ash will build up and block the air flow which would smother the remaining coals.
Now that the coals are ready, I put the body of the smoker on top of the pan, then add water to the water pan, put on the grates and add the food. Put the lid on and its done.
As you can see, this style of smoker is noticeably smaller than an offset charcoal smoker that can usually be about the size of a normal grill.
For my first use, I went big. I put a pork shoulder on the bottom grate and a rack of ribs on the top. I figured I'd get a good feel for the smoker with two different things cooking at once.
I also put a couple aluminum foil packets of soaked hickory and apple wood chips onto the charcoal.. Here is where the smoke starts rolling pretty good:
About 4+ hours later here are the results:
The end results were not what I was expecting. Because this smoker has no airflow controls, I could not regulate the temperature. Also the thermometer is horrible. It doesn't even have temperatures.. only "warm, ideal and hot". The ribs turned out ok, but overly smoked. The smoke flavor was so pronounced that I couldn't eat the smaller ribs. And the pork shoulder was not even cooked all the way through. I ended up finishing the pork shoulder on my propane grill because I already used 2 chimneys full of charcoal and I didn't feel like setting another to burn. The pork shoulder was not cooked correctly but the smoke flavor was good for it. Because it was thicker, the smoke didn't permeate as much into the meat.
I'd say this smoker was a failure. But I didn't give up. I decided to make a few modifications, which I'll go over in another blog post. I can say that I would not recommend using this smoker without modifying it. Or if you do use this smoker without modifications do not use lump charcoal. It burns far hotter and faster than kingsford briquettes and with no airflow controls, the lump burned incredibly fast. Also, use almost boiling water in your water pan, and only fill it half way. The water I used was hot from the tap and because of the volume of water the pan holds, most of the heat that would have cooked the pork shoulder was absorbed by the water that was sitting directly under it.
And for anyone wondering, was the smoker worth it? The answer is yes. Once I had the proper modifications done, I have been making some of the best barbeque I've ever eaten. Definitely worth it. It was quite a learning experience too. Practice makes perfect.
Internet Brands, the parent company of vBulletin has filed a lawsuit against Xenforo because XF is developed by former vBulletin head developers and are directly competing with their product. Apparently there maybe contractual breaches from the developers former employment with IB. Of course, customers of vBulletin that were pissed off at vB/IB before are even more pissed off because of this lawsuit. The discussions in the private customer forum at vbulletin.com are only available to licensed owners so its pointless to post a link to it, but there are alot of aggravated customers complaining. Who will win the lawsuit? What software platform will become king in the future? And what about Invisionboard who is lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on the weakened victor? The forum drama continues...
Invision Power Services has launched their test site for their new 4.0 software that we'll be upgrading to sometime after they release it and a new skin is available (most likely the same skin / theme we are using now). Its interesting as I didn't know what exactly to expect. I knew they were recoding the entire platform so all their products can be used separately, but I was kind of expecting some new eye popping layout or something. When compared to their current forum, it actually looks very similar:
Current forum running IPB 3:
Test forum running IPB 4:
Once a good skin is installed, I'm sure it'll look fine, just like how AC currently looks very different from the regular IPB3 skin.
It does look like some nice features have been added and the software works much better on mobile devices now, including mobile image uploads. According to their admins, they have spent a long time making the new core software to give them a solid platform to add many new features and functionality to for years to come. I look forward to seeing what this software is actually capable of. I've been holding off on doing any major renovations to this site because I've been waiting for this new version. As of this post, they have still not revealed the new content management system (CMS aka IP.Content), and that is the primary piece that I'm most interested in and how the new version of it will affect the way articles are handled on AC.
I haven't liked vBulletin for some time now and mostly put that forum software behind me except for the occasional jab about how bad their software is. I came across this interesting update from PC Gamer the other day... with a part that I emphasized:
I don't visit PC Gamer's website, so I'm not certain what version of vB they were using, but this is pretty huge. The took all of their entire network's vBulletin powered forums offline because it was exploited.
Well PC Gamer, I suggest you switch to Invision Power.
vBulletin has really gone downhill and I'm glad we stopped using their software when we did.
I received this email today:
After logging into vbulletin's site, I changed my password and checked out the client forums. vBulletin's software was compromised, again.
Earlier this year, PCGamers forum was hacked and then earlier in July, Ubuntu forums was hacked. And just the other day vbulletin.com, vbulletin.org and MacRumors were all hacked. All of the sites were running vbulletin software.
I'm glad we stopped using this software when we did. vbulletin.org runs vb 3 which is what we were running in the end before switching to Invision Power Board. If vb3 is now vulnerable, then all the numerous sites still using it are at risk. Anyone that has used the same password on all sites, should not use any password they have previously used on any vBulletin site.
The Ubuntu and MacRumors sites were hacked because a moderator account was broken into. The vBulletin.com and vBulletin.org sites have not stated how they were hacked into, nor do they have a fix for this exploit because it is "being looked into."
A while ago, I had some serious engine rocking problems and misfires happening with my car. The end result was a $700 repair bill at a local mechanic. Part of the repair work about $150 of it, was for replacing the valve cover gasket. Well, a few months after it was done, it started leaking oil and over the past 6 months it started leaking really bad, causing oil to leak down onto the exhaust manifold and cause grey smoke to come out from under the hood on a daily basis. Seeing as the valve cover already had a new gasket and still leaked, I figure the valve cover itself needs to be replaced as it has become warped with heat and/or damaged somehow.
I went to the local pick n pull and found the only saturn that had the same valve cover as mine. I lucked out pretty good. I have pictures of the valve cover before and after cleaning and what the factory gasket (black gasket) looks like. Maybe I'll post those pictures in another blog entry. But why did I buy the valve cover at the scrap yard? Because it only costed $11 compared to the close to $400 the dealership wants.
This tutorial isn't completely in-depth on how to change a valve cover gasket but it does cover all the steps. All I can say is that for a saturn, it is easier to change your valve cover than to change your front brake calipers and bleed the brake lines.
1) First off, drive the car up onto car ramps (not those shitty plastic ones, unless you want a car to fall on your head), put an oil drain pan under the oil pan, drain the oil by removing the oil pan plug, then remove the oil filter and also let that drain. Then screw back on your oil pan plug and put on a new oil filter. I have no pictures of doing all that. X'D
2) Disconnect your battery at the negative terminal. Now you'll want to mark the number order of your spark plug boots with duct tape and pull them out and set them to the side. Then disconnect the hose and unplug the pcv valve from the valve cover.
3) Now you'll remove the bolts holding the valve cover on. I would take them off in the order as specified in the haynes/repair manual. Then take the valve cover off, be careful, its an oily mess. The old gasket should come off rather easy, but you might have scrape the gasket off the manifold or valve cover, if any rtv was used. This is a picture of the old valve cover and gasket (the gasket is blue).
4) Here is a picture of the engine head after I cleaned it. You have to have a clean oil free surface for your gasket or else it will leak. I used Brakekleen and a rag.
5) Here is another angle. I'm posting these next couple pictures because I didn't know where I was supposed to apply the rtv when replacing the gasket. All over the internet, people would say "where the timing chain cover meets the head." or "on the timing chain T-joints."
6) Which are right here. I felt stupid. I've never messed with engines before and I didn't realize that the timing chain had its own cover that covered a large chunk of the engine on the passenger side.
7) Here is another angle. If you can make it out from my blurry picture, there is a slight recess in this joint. That is what you want to definitely be filled in with rtv. When I applied rtv, I smeared it on with my thumb and made sure air didn't get trapped in it. Now remember, do not apply rtv until you are ready to put the valve cover on and tighten all the bolts! rtv sets very fast and you don't want to have it harden up before you put everything back together.
8) This is the new slightly used valve cover from the scrap yard. I cleaned it quite a bit with engine degreaser and then with brakekleen the day before and then let it thoroughly dry. The gasket easily fits snug into the valve cover's grooves.
9) These are the locations where I put a small amount of rtv to make sure I got a good seal. I also applied rtv to the engine head at the same spots so the rtv will grab itself when I put the valve cover on.
10) And here is a picture of the valve cover bolts with their little gaskets on them. Remember to keep all the gaskets oil free!
11) Now apply your rtv on those spots I pointed out, (I used the blue rtv), and then very carefully place the valve cover back on, without smudging your rtv! and then put the bolts back on by hand at first and then follow the tightening sequence as shown in your repair manual.
12) Here is another angle of what it will look like properly tightened. My old valve cover was flush with the head which shows how warped it must have been, considering this one is a more uniformly even spacing all around.
13) Now put those boots back on your spark plugs and reconnect the hose, pcv valve and then your negative battery connection.
14) Then let your car sit for 24 hours so your rtv will fully cure. Once thats done, put in 4 quarts of oil and test the car for leaks.
I just did this job yesterday and put oil in around 6 tonight. It looks like everything is holding up well. But I'm still keeping my eyes open for leaks. Hopefully I won't come across another problem related to this. x_x
Next phone I buy will be an HTC or a Samsung. I will never buy a Motorola phone again. I specifically bought this phone because it was on sale, it had basically the same specs as the samsung galaxy at the time and it was guaranteed to be upgraded to the latest android operating system.
I never got that upgraded operating system. Android 2.3 is so outdated, that numerous apps are not even available for it. I cannot even run Google Chrome.. wtf. No Vine, no Time Warner app, etc. Numerous basic features on all phones are not available to me because I bought this phone with the belief that I'd only use the old operating system for another month or so. I remember when my brother's Nexus got upgraded to android 4.1, he was talking about how it was like a brand new phone again.. I was looking forward to this upgrade for so long.. and then my hopes were crushed.
Say no to Motorola. Don't even bother buying their crap, because its completely unsupported.
So I noticed my muffler was sounding louder than usual and I knew there was a small hole right on the end of it. So I bought a tube of muffler/exhaust patch goop and took pictures of my patch job. Make sure your car has been off for quite a while before doing this yourself. Your exhaust pipe and muffler should be cold when using this stuff because heat will only harden the goop too fast and you risk burning yourself. So yeah, to do this job yourself, all you need is the following:
1 tube of Exhaust system joint & crack sealer
(purchased at NAPA for $2.95 or so)
1 throwaway latex glove
(purchased at NAPA or walmart, an entire package for a few dollars, usually near the toilet scrubbers at walmart or auto chemical section)
1 can of brakekleen or any brand of spray on brake parts cleaner (all you need is a couple sprays out of it for this). ($3)
Here is the hole in my muffler.
Here is a pic of the Exhaust system joint & crack sealer that I used. Autozone or Advance Auto Parts probably have the same brand or something similar.
Here is the hole in my muffler after I sprayed it with some brakekleen to get the harmful chemicals off it. Then I let it air dry and then sandpapered it lightly to remove excessive rust or grime. Then I sprayed it again with more brakleen and let it dry once again so the goop will stick good.
And just as I was about to put the goop on, I noticed this hole, and yes those are metal coat hangers holding up my muffler, the strap rusted away about six months ago.
LMAO, holy shit! No wonder it got so loud! X'D
So I put on the throwaway blue rubber glove and smeared some sealer onto the hole.
I also cleaned, sanded (And wow, after rubbing it lightly with the sandpaper it became an even bigger hole) and then cleaned the huge hole and smeared almost the entire tube all over the hole. Since the sealer goop starts stiffening rather quickly, it was easy to just keep applying blobs to the edges of the hole, let it harden slightly and then just keep building on that edge until it covered the entire hole.
Because it kept wanting to cling to my finger and reopen the hole when I touched it, I had to let it dry for an hour and apply another layer over top of it to finish the patch.
I then let it sit over night and it was noticeably quieter the next day. Not normal of course. If all I had was just that little hole, once it was patched, you would think the muffler was new. But that huge gaping hole affects the noise the muffler makes now. I'll have to get a new muffler soon, but at least until I do it doesn't sound like I'm driving some old diesel truck down the road. X'D
Btw, if you have a small hole like the one on the end of my muffler on any part of your exhaust pipe, do this quick easy fix yourself and it'll cut back on alot of noise.
I was looking through my old blog posts and I see this:
I was watching way too much MSNBC in 2008. Back in the day I used to watch Fox News. I thought Bill O'Reilly was great with how he interviewed politicians. The no spin zone was a concept that I liked. My dad would listen to Rush Limbaugh and I'd hear many of his broadcasts. Years later I moved to NY. Democrats are more popular in this state. I ended up eventually watching some MSNBC instead of Fox News or CNN. After a few years and a presidential election I realized that all media is biased. Looking back on my days of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh I used to vote party line all republican. I didn't even know who any one was.. just the fact that it was republican was good enough for me. When I finally started voting in NY I eventually voted the same way. Party line democrat.
Looking back on it all, I was controlled. Based upon the biased news I'd hear, I was manipulated into thinking a certain way without being out right told to do so.
I no longer watch these channels when I can avoid them. Instead I'll look at twitter, see some headlines, then google search those words and read the news from a couple of random sources. I get a much better view on whats real this way. And if I see an article that is highly motivated towards a specific party then I disregard that website or channel and try to avoid them.
I was easily manipulated for years by a one sided argument against the other political party. They are like religious leaders. Preaching their story and telling you how to think and behave but never telling you about the good things the other party actually does. Like religion, everyone is expected to pick a side and all other views and opinions are blasphemous and should not be considered or even listened to. I believe, because of my religious christian upbringing, I was, in essence pre-programmed as a child to accept things that are presented to me and keep coming back for me of the same speech. As well as stay true to the person or in this case, channel, giving me my information.
I can honestly say that most of the reliable news I get comes from NPR. I can fact check a variety of stories or search for different views on some subjects they cover and they are not biased or necessarily pro government. Any other website or news source that says other wise is the equivalent of a pastor reprimanding you for looking into or asking about another religion. If you don't get your news fix from only them, then NPR and all other news is corrupt. What a load of shit.
What also kills me is the ridiculous unchecked comments. Everyone has comments, but no moderators. I've seen sites where pro democrats say they'll move to canada if a republican is ever elected president again. I've seen fear mongering from democrats basically stating that many right wing nuts are about to push the boundaries for starting a civil war.
I've also seen comments from pro republican sites where people talk about the day the south will eventually rise again and reclaim america, "but not in a racially motivated slave way".. I've also seen where people want to force god back into the country but refuse to admit that the founding fathers were secualrists.
All of it is dumbfounding. US citizens are basically sheep following a flock. I'm just glad the flat earth society was never main stream. Imagine if I fell into that way of thinking.. lol. People alive today still believe the earth is flat. wtf.
vBulletin has updated their vBulletin 5 Connect demo.. Heres a prime example of the horrible crap of vbulletin's sofware and one of the obvious reasons we stopped using their product.
vBulletin custom page example:
Yay, I could have put text on a page.
Here is an example of a random test page that I made on ipb:
I have the ability to put anything from the database onto any page I want and in whatever format I want it to appear in. Huge difference. Sure vb allows custom blocks and html, but if it was anything as advanced as IPB, you would think they would have made a better example.
I followed the directions in this video and what an improvement!
This was way easier than manually installing reshade and sweetfx and then fine tuning the effects I'd want. Instead it took me about 5 mins and everything looks amazing.
Here are some before and after shots. Click on an image to open it in the lightbox image viewer, then hit the left and right arrows on the sides of the image to easily compare.
Guild Wars 2 Max settings:
Max settings with Reshade/SweetFX:
Guild Wars 2 Max settings:
Max settings with Reshade/SweetFX:
Doctor Who has always been one of my favorite shows, but this last series with Peter Capaldi has hit a new low for me. I loved Matt Smith and David Tennant as their own respective doctors, but Peter Capaldi's doctor is so bland. He might be a better doctor if the show actually had decent writers though. In all of time and space to travel to, the doctor has spent about 90% of that season in the school where Clara works.. Surrounded by children, Peter Capaldi's age is even more pronounced and he is often seen as an old cranky man that only listens to his grand daughter's (Clara's) opinion. After talking with my parents, they seem to enjoy him as the doctor, and if anything, that was the goal of this last season.. to appeal to the older, original audience base of the show. But in the long term that won't work out good for the show seeing as the older audience base eventually lost interest and it lead to the inevitable cancellation of the show.
Also.. Clara.. so much focus on Clara. They should have made the doctor a woman for this series considering how much they have focused on her over the actual doctor. I knew the show was going downhill when, in one scene on the moon, the doctor jumped into a cavern to investigate some giant bacteria.. and just when I thought the episode was going to get interesting, the camera doesn't follow the doctor, instead it goes right back to Clara again.. who is just walking somewhere. Who cares what the doctor is doing.. they should just rename the show "Clara Who?". I was hoping they'd kill off her character so the show could focus on the Doctor again.. but that doesn't seem likely any time soon. Maybe the show will get better, but unless they actually explore space and time again, I'm going to eventually lose all interest.
I've been having some problems with vibration, noise and pulsating brakes with my blazer for a while. Since I replaced the front brakes, the problem hasn't improved much. Its mostly because the back e-brakes need to be grinded down more and the brake lines need to be bled. Hopefully once I finish those things, my brake problems will be over with. If not, it'll be time to take it into a shop. x_x
Anyway, I did some more front brake work on the blazer last week. I cleaned off the rest of the leftover grease from the calipers, sprayed disc quiet on the brake pads to stop the annoying squeaking noise (which it did take care of) and I cleaned and liberally re-greased the caliper pins and rubber boots they fit into.
Disc quiet works by acting as a sticky adhesive on the back plate of the brake pad. It causes the brake pads to stick to the caliper so that when the brake pressure is released, the caliper pulls the brake pads away from the rotor and holds them in place so they don't bang around or continue to slightly rub against the rotor while you are driving.
Heres a pic of the sprayed on disc brake quiet on the brake pads. Always remember to spray brakleen on the sides of the pads or the metal nub ends if you spray them by accident.
The brake pads put back on, with grease applied to the connecting points.
This is the caliper bolt pin I mentioned in my other blog post for the front brake job. I wiped it down and mostly cleaned it up.
Here it is greased up and ready to go back into the caliper/brake pad mounting piece.
And if anyone is interested, here is a pic of the hand goop that I use to clean the grease, dirt, oil and grime off my hands. This crap works amazingly well.
I've been playing Prince of Persia since way back in the Broderbund days. And just as those classic games broke the barriers of cutting edge gaming back then, the new Prince of Persia does the same. Throwing aside the old side scrolling action and breaking new ground with such entirely unique gameplay, the Prince of Persia series is redifined with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
The game is played in 3rd person perspective with camera controls so excellent, you will never miss out on any of the action. If you were to watch someone playing this, you would think the controls would be intimidating. But in fact, the controls are simple to learn thanks to the basic tutorial that assists you through the beginning scenes.
The plot is great because of its simplicity.
To quote a description from the publisher:
Basically, everyone is turned into a sand demon, but as you play, you soon realize there are 2 others not affected by the Sands.. a young woman of the Maharajah kingdom named Farah and the evil Vizier. They both possess objects that protect them from the affects of the Sand, such as the Dagger has kept the Prince safe.
After the Sands of Time are released, you quickly discover that the only way to destroy the sand demons is to absorb their sand into the Dagger of Time. The Dagger also has other abilities, such as if you were to die abruptly by a missed jump, the Dagger can rewind time at your discretion so you can make another attempt.
The Dagger can do this as long as it has sand reserves. To refill the Dagger, simply kill another sand demon and absorb its sand. As you progress through the game, the Dagger will become stronger with every kill enabling you to do other feats than just rewinding time.
The game is tied together with action and puzzle solving. For example: Kill all the enemies in the room, then get from point A to point B to progress to the next area. And this is were the Prince's abilities really shine. By doing combinations of wall running, jumping, swinging, climbing, pulling switches, hitting levers and wall jumping.. this game is sure to keep you entertained.
With no major stage boundaries or level completion notices, Prince of Persia is a constant, fluid, adrenaline rush adventure.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Genre: Action Adventure
Publisher: UBI SOFT
Developer: UBI SOFT
Instructions to make:
Sledge's Dry Rib Rub and how to cook some pork ribs with a dry rub, smoke and no sauce!
Serving size: 1 (or more if you cook more ribs)
Ingredients for dry rib rub (enough for probably 2 or 3 medium sized racks of ribs)
- 1/2 cup of paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup salt (or fresh ground salt)
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
And of course to smoke cook your ribs on your grill you'll need:
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of pork spare ribs
- A couple handfuls of flavored wood chips
- A cast iron smoke box for your wood chips
- A piece of aluminum foil
1) Gather your ingredients for the rub and add them put them all into a bowl.
2) Mix all the rub ingredients together. Its best to mix it with your hands, a fork, spoon or whisk just wont work as good.
3) Rinse off your ribs and then pat them dry with a bunch of paper towels.
4) Use one hand to grab rub and drop it liberally onto both sides of your ribs, and then use your other hand to rub it in. This way if you have extra rub left over you can save it in a baggie and refrigerate it without any contamination from touching the pork. If you don't plan on saving leftover rub, just dump it all over your ribs and put it on thick! You'll want to let it really permeate the ribs now. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate it, or if your ribs are still cold from the refrigerator, let them sit on the counter for a half hour or so while you warm up the grill and soak your wood chips.
5) Put a handful or two into a bowl of water and let them soak for about a half hour. You can also turn on your grill and let it start heating up.
6) Now that the grill has heated up, put your smoker box on the far right side. Grab a handful of wet wood chips, let the wood chips drain for a minute in your hand and then put the wood chips in the smoker. Not too many tho! Those wood chips need air to burn once you put the lid on. Also, turn off the left burner. You do not want to cook your ribs over direct flame. And turn the right burner down to about a medium flame.
7) Before you put your ribs on the grill, lightly tap the ribs on its sides to get any excess rub off. Excess rub will look like dry patches of rub if as long as you let it soak into the ribs like I said. Now put the lid on your smoke box and put your ribs on the grill.
8) Look at those ribs one more time because you won't be looking at them again for a while Close that grill and walk away for an hour. Within a half hour you'll probably see a light smoke coming out of the grill, you shouldn't have any flare ups because the ribs are not over direct heat. And by leaving the grill down for a full hour the grill will be cooking more like an oven and the smoke from the smoke box will circulate inside the grill filling the ribs with more flavor.
9) An hour later, I flipped the ribs and added another small handful of fresh chips to the now fully burnt looking chips inside the smoke box. And now close that grill and let it cook for 1 more hour.
10) After two hours of total cooking time, your ribs should be fully done. You can check with a meat thermometer, pork is well done at 170 degrees. When you take the ribs off the grill, immediately wrap them in aluminum foil and let them sit on a plate for a good 15 minutes. This lets the ribs reabsorb their moisture and allows more flavor to fully saturate the meat. If you don't wrap it in foil, the moisture will evaporate and collect on the plate. So wrap it!
11) After 15 minutes, look at those ribs!
12) Cut them into portions and look at the juicy results!
13) Feel free to use a sauce on the side, but these ribs have all the flavor and tender flavor you need!
This rub is a good sweet and spicy mix, but next time I cook ribs like this, I think I'll use a full cup of brown sugar to sweeten the rub a bit more. These ribs turned out quite good, but I think I still prefer my other rib recipe over this one... probably because its less time consuming and easier.
Heres a link to my other rib recipe:
St. Louis style ribs
Instructions to make:
Sledge's Sweet and Spicy Rib Rub
This dry rub can be used on pork or beef ribs, chicken, chicken wings, beef, pork, steaks, etc!
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (firmly packed in measuring cup)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 cup + a little over.. half seasoned salt, half bucks seasoning
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1) Mix all the ingredients together. If you don't have a food processor to mix it with, then use your hands and really work the mix in a larger bowl to break apart the brown sugar so everything is equally mixed in.
2) This recipe will yield a good sized batch of rub that should last you all summer! Just remember to separate the amount of rub you plan on using ahead of working with raw meats or other foods so you don't cross-contaminate your main batch! So when you are ready to start cooking, set a small bowl of your rub aside and store the rest of your rub in an airtight container. Or do what I do and put your rub mix in a freezer bag and store it out of the way on a refrigerator door shelf. It does not need to be refrigerated, but it will stay fresh longer in the fridge! But keep in mind, regardless of how you store the rub mix, the brown sugar in this rub will cause the rub mix to re-clump after it has sat for a few days/weeks. This is normal, just simply break the clumps apart and its ready to be used again!
If anyone can remember the old bulletin board software wars from years ago, you would remember an old major player called ikonboard. This software was a phpBB, UBB and vBulletin rival back in the day. But after they got purchased by a bigger company they lost alot of their users when the old developers of ikonboard broke away and created invision power board. Shortly after ikonboard became pretty obsolete.
Now the same thing is happening with vBulletin. vBulletin was purchased by Internet Brands and became more commercial and money hungry. The main developers of vB left the company and just recently announced that they are making a new forum software called xenforo. Which can be found at http://xenforo.com/
Could this possibly be history repeating itself? Will xenforo replace vbulletin in the near future just like invision power board replaced ikonboard? Only time will tell.
I finally bit the bullet and upgraded my graphics card. I bought a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP! Edition. So far it's running pretty good. It is a huge upgrade over the 1 GB non gtx geforce stock card that came with my Dell XPS desktop.
It only needs a single 6 pin power connector and the small profile fits perfectly without forcing me to buy new sata cables to fit around it. This card does run a little hot since the fans are dialed way back from the manufacturer. At idle the temp is 39 degrees Celsius and the fans do not run which works great for me because I work on this pc all day and there is no noise. When under load it'll spike up to 76 degrees Celsius but the fans have never gone over 50% power. Which means I have a little extra heat in my pc but it's still quiet. If I wanted to knock the temps down more I could use an over clocking tool and turn the fans up to full under load, but then I'd have a bunch of noise. Last thing I want is to sit next to a box fan while playing a game. Overall I'm pleased. I'll test it more over the next couple weeks.
The improvements they are making to IPB look really great. Some of the highlights for me:
Embeds will always work. Now that is a huge difference.
Drag and drop images right into the editor. I've been waiting for this feature. No more having to click attach and then navigate to the right folder where your image is.. just drag it right into the editor.
This is a big change and I hope they pull it off correctly. All our custom bbcodes will be negated. But the only custom bbcode we actually use is the spoiler tag, which will now be a default feature. All other custom bbcodes will now have to be created as CKEditor plugins.. but there are already a lot of ckeditor plugins available. So I could technically add a variety of new editor features.
Very very nice. I like this.
Good! No more having to click the load saved content option. Simplifying this will make the auto save much better.
Oh! and the editor will now be fully skin-able! The editor won't have to be glaring white on a dark theme anymore.
Also, the current skins that we use are going to be upgraded for IPB 4.0. We won't have to change the entire look of the site.
This is a highlight reel of explosions and dick punches from my playthrough of the Uncharted collection on PS4. There are no spoilers in this clip, just a few inappropriate dick punches, explosions and glitches.
This is a brief walk through of how to do a front brake job on a 2001 Blazer. If you are using this as a reference to do your own brake job, please keep in mind that all cars are different and not everything will look the same or be the same socket or wrench sizes. Also, if you have never done a brake job before, I highly recommend you have someone help you who has done them before so you don't mess something up. If you mess up your brakes, your brakes could fail and you could die or kill others accidentally.
Anyway, with that little disclaimer out the way, get everything you'll need together.
Unlike some of my other blog entries, the following pictures precede the instructions that go with that picture. I'm sure you'll figure it out.
Everything from left to right:
1) Impact driver that plugs into cigarette lighter.
2) Wheel chocks
3) Tools on the bottom include and pry bar, 1/2 socket wrench, brake caliper clamp (I can't remember the actual name of it), rubber mallet.
4) A can of Brakleen and a bottle of brake/caliper greese.
5) Mechanics tool set.
6) Paper towels.
7) 2-1/2 ton Jack stand
8) 2 new rotors and ceramic brake pads. Ceramics are better and don't have nearly as much brake dust, which means they keep your tires looking much cleaner and free of alot of grime.
Tools and items not shown include my 3-ton floor jack, a bottle of "freeze off" for rusted bolts and an inside shot of my tool set.
1) Look in your car manual and locate the correct points underneath your car where you can safely jack your car up. You do not want to jack your car on a part of the frame that you think will be ok, only to have your jack put all the weight of the front end of the car on a part of metal that can't take it and thus it'll fuck up your car. BTW, this is my 3-ton floor jack. Before you start jacking up your car, place your wheel chocks around your rear tires so your car does not move on you while jacking. (I forgot to take that pic.)
2) If you are using the jack that came with your car, jack up your car high enough to place a jack stand underneath it and lower it down onto it for safety. The jacks that come with cars are pieces of shit and you should not trust them with your head or limb under a vehicle. Only jack your car up high enough for the tire to freely rotate, about a half inch off the ground. I have faith in my jack, so I generally keep it up constantly, but I'll place a jackstand underneath in case some emergency happens and my jack brakes.
3) BTW, you should probably check your new rotors and brake pads at the store to make sure they are free of nicks or brakes.
4) Using an impact driver, most are powered by air compressors and are very expensive but this little one was really cheap and only costed me $30. I bought a better impact driver for it tho ($10ish), because the ones it comes with looked like shit to me.
5) If your tire has plastic covers covering the lug nuts, take them off by using a socket on them and taking them off easily by hand. No wrench needed for that. Then use your impact driver to take the lug nuts off. Always loosen the lug nuts first before removing them. Loosen them one after another by loosing the next lug nut opposite the one you just loosened. Never loosen them clockwise or counterclock wise. The lug nuts are on extremely tight, if you take them off one by one or loosen them incorrectly you run a big chance of fucking up your lug nuts and breaking some bolts.
6) Now that the tire is off, you can place it on the ground and use it as a seat to take care of the rest of the job.
7) Your caliper is the outer part of the brake system. It is connected to the car with a brake line. The caliper is only held on two bolt pins. I call them bolt pins because they are connected like bolts, but once you remove them, the length of the bolt is actually a greesed long metal pin. Its made like that so the bolt pin holds the caliper to the brake pad holder but also gives it the slight movement it needs for brake operation. I forgot to take a picture of the bolt pins. Also, if the bolts do not want to come off, you may have to spray them with some freeze off. If you use freeze off, try not to spray the rotor or brake pads with it. It acts like a lubricant and will cause your brakes to fail. Because I'm replacing the rotors, its not as big an issue. Also, remember which direction actually loosens and tightens the bolts. Because the bolts are facing you, you have to figure out which direction to turn them. If you over tighten them, you will probably shread the bolt head off and that will lead to a costly repair job. Once those pins are off, the caliper may not want to come off because of the brake pressure in the caliper. You will most like have to use a small pry bar to slowly work it off.
8) Once you have taken the caliper off, place it on something so it does not hang from the brake line. A brake line job is extremely expensive and you do not want to damage that brake line by having something that weighs about 5-10 pounds dropping and damaging it. Next, you have to take off the brake pad holder. It has an actual name, but I can't remember it. Its only two bolts like the caliper, but these are actual bolts. And the top one of mine is in a tight spot. I had to carefully turn my steering wheel to rotate it into a position where I could get it all the way out. And even then my socket wouldn't fit on it. I had to go to the hardware store and pick up a 18mm wrench just for this job. These bolts haven't been off in a long time either, so I had to use some freeze off on them and even wack it a couple times with the rubber mallet to loosen it up.
9) Now that that is off, heres what everything looks like separated. You can take off the old brake pads at this point. You may have to use a rubber mallet to wack them off the brake pad holder if they are stubborn.
10) Here are some pics of the old rotor compared to the new one. The thickness isn't bad on the old one, but it has some bad groves in it. Rotors are supposed to be smooth. Also, if you wanted to, you could take your old rotors to a mechanic and have them machined. As long as they still have a good thickness to them, having them machined back to smoothness will make them re-useable. It generally costs about half as much as buying new rotors. It depends tho.
11) Before you put your new rotor on, heavily spray that bastard down with brakleen to clean it. It may look clean, but you must make sure it is free from all oils usually leftover from manufacturing. Brakleen dissolves oil and greese away and drys very quickly.
12) If your brake pads came with clips, follow the directions that came with them and apply the clips. Also, spray the side of the brake pads that will come in contact with the rotor with brakleen.
13) Now prepare your caliper for the new hardware. Your caliper pistons are probably still out a bit. I like to put some caliper/brake greese on them at this point. Next put one of your old brake pads on the caliper and use the brake caliper clamp to push the caliper flush. If your car has two pistons like this one, alternate back and forth between the two until they are both flush around the same time. A C-Clamp can also be used for this if you have one. Once thats done, wipe off some of the excess greese with paper towels.
14) Now reassemble the entire thing. The rotor goes right on. I recommend reattaching the brake pad holder first before putting the new brake pads on. Also, if you accidentally get any greese or grime from your hands on the rotor or the part of the brake pads that touch the rotor, respray them with brakleen. You do not want greese or oil on those parts. Also, make sure you do not get any greese or oil on the lug nut bolts. If you do, spray those with brakleen too.
15) Heres a side view shot. You'll notice I put some brake greese on the two metal nubs where the brake pads are connected to the brake pad holder. The brake pads should have a little movement to them when sitting on there and the greese helps with that small amount of movement.
16) Now put the caliper back on. It should fit on pretty easy now that the caliper pistons are pushed back. When putting the bolt pins back in, I would rub some brake/caliper greese on them first and slide them back into place and then tighten them on. Also, becareful not to over tighten any of the bolts. Tighten them to the point where you can't move them anymore, then give them one last strong tug to make sure they are tight. Other than that, don't over do it. Once the caliper is back on, test your brakes by having someone turn the car on and press on the brakes slowly all the way down. Then release slowly. Do that a couple times and try moving the rotor while the brake is down. If it doesn't move then you did good. Once the brakes are released, make sure the rotor moves again freely. It may be a little harder to move it now, but as long as it moves, then good. Doing this a couple times gets the calipers back into position for correct braking on the road.
17) Now put your tire back on and, by hand, thread your lug nuts on and tighten them. Once they are on, bust out your impact driver and tighten them up in an opposite motion. Once they are all tight, tighten them even more. At least 5-10 clicks on your driver. Then remove your jack stand and slowly lower your jack down. Do not do it too fast. Let the weight distribute itself. Once the tire is down, remove your jack and then tighten your lug nuts again with a socket wrench to make sure they are on really friggin tight.
18) Now repeat all this on the other front wheel, because you must always do a brake and/or rotor job in pairs. Also, whenever you replace your rotors, you must replace your brake pads. Never put old brake pads on new rotors. New brake pads on old rotors are ok as long as the old rotors are smooth on both sides.
This super white default theme is bugging my eyes. x_x I was busy all week/weekend again doing insulation work on the house. Couple that with a power and internet outage last week and all my free time keeps getting sucked away. I have a new fridge and dishwasher getting delivered this weekend so I'll be a bit busy with that. Especially since I don't know if the electric is actually hooked up correctly for the dishwasher outlet. I keep trying to play a bit of God of War at night and I end up pausing it and walking away to get more crap done. ugh.. I need more free time. I'm tapped out almost all of my vacation too. I have a few days left scheduled for the end of the year. Maybe I'll be able to play that new episode of GW2 by then.
Black friday sales started early so I bought a 4k HDR 50 inch samsung tv. I'm pleased with it. The blacks this tv gets still blows my mind. I doubt I'll buy a PS4pro, but in the mean time my regular PS4 has HDR.. but I only have one game that actually takes advantage of it and thats Uncharted 4. I don't think I'll be replaying it any time soon just to see the graphical difference, but regardless this tv upscales like a champ. Everything looks significantly better. Thats a hell of a lot better upscaling than blu ray players do for dvds. Its a night and day difference.
I put on Rise of the Tomb Raider last night and Battlefield 1 and the quality is top notch. Game mode works with HDR for this tv, so I can put on game mode for reduced input lag which is nice without affecting quality. It also has bitstream audio pass through which works great with my old receiver for surround sound.
The tv has Motion rate 120 instead of true 120 hz refresh rate which I didn't know was a different thing when I was buying the tv. But thats ok, I doubt the PS5 when it eventually comes out will even come close to 60 fps at 4k and my current pc graphics card will no way in hell do any better than 60 fps at 4k so I'm pretty much set for future proofing at the moment.. at least for the next 4-5 years probably. And motion rate 120 is a bit nuts. I had to turn the judder down on that. It makes everything so fluid its like everything was filmed like a soap opera. I never realized more fps on a movie would look so different. But the biggest downside is for animated titles. It cause a bit too much of a blur effect as the tv basically fills in the games to increase the fps.. its not good for animated shows.
Sigh, I actually had to break down and get a FunimationNow account because half the shows I was planning on watching on CR got pulled yesterday (and I didn't actually realize Funi had the license). Going to go broke if this shit keeps happening >.<
I still haven't had the time to play any of the GW2 halloween event and it ends tomorrow. but i did get the new entrance to my deck completed. I cut a good chunk of the wood fence off, reinforced it with pieces of 2x4, sanded it and reinforced adjacent parts of the deck with huge deck screws. I borrowed my friend's impact driver. Holy crap I need to buy one of these. That thing is beastly and amazing.