Tag Archives: there must be some better advice online than this

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$20 Projector Screen

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Blackout cloth is used to line curtains to block the light so you can sleep in on a sunny morning. Blackout cloth is white or cream colored; it’s not black like you might assume.

A friend had cautioned me about being sure to not get anything translucent as he had some strange effects from his screen where the image was reflecting from the wall and back through his screen. Even without that, any light that penetrates the screen is not coming back to the viewer and is wasted.

I beamed the largest in focus image I could on my wall and measured. I got 8 feet of blackout cloth (it’s was 54 inches wide), three 8 foot 1x4s and a 2×4 foot piece of light plywood.

The plywood was cut into four triangles. The 1×4’s were cut so they fit together to match my measurements and screwed together in a rectangle using the plywood triangles on the corners.

I spread the fabric out on a clean surface, coated side down and carefully lay the 1×4 frame on top of it. I wrapped the fabric over the frame, stapled it to the wood and trimmed the surplus fabric. To mount the result to the wall I used small angle brackets; they were screwed into the wall in line with the top and bottom of the screen, then I slid the screen in between them and screwed directly into the top and bottom of the screen so the brackets were concealed.

I’m very pleased with the results.

How to Automatically Download TV Shows for XBMC

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Sickbeard turns xbmc into a TiVO

1. You tell Sickbeard which shows to track.
2. Sickbeard finds nzb files for you online and hands them off to sabnzbd.
3. Sabnzbd grabs the files from your usenet feed and assembles them into videos.
4. Sickbeard fixes file names for easy consumption by xbmc
5. After the files are complete, Hazel moves them onto the drive used by xbmc.

This all is implemented in python and uses web pages for the ui. It all runs perfectly on my Mac mini but works on Windows or Linux as well.

There are numerous ways for a hacker to to set up this functionality but this works very reliably for an out of the box solution.

Jetshred had a dead simple guide to OS X set up.

Strike Two for Angie’s List

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Looking for a window installer was my second test for Angie’s List. I know there are dozens of people who can install windows in less than 5 miles of my house but Angie’s List seems to treat my house as being in LA (the next county) so they have hits that are 80 miles and specifically don’t service Ventura.

I still really like the concept and have not given up but expect more from a pay service.

I was happy with my Ventura water softener people (Harris / Culligan) and gave them a nice review on Angie’s List so hopefully I can help the next guy.

Sweet little projector: Optoma HD66

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I’ve finally taken the high definition TV plunge with this sweet little projector. It’s also 3d-ready but I haven’t played with that at all.

It dropped into my old-school TiVo, xBox, and PC running XBMC environment surprisingly easily.

Angie’s List Fails on my Trial Run

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I’ve always liked the idea of Angie’s List. I’m a firm believer that the right lead saves money, time and stress. In need of a Water Softener I finally had a legitimate need for their services and signed up: ~$30 for two years.

Only one entry under category Water Softener in my area was even ranked and he had a D! Most of the local Water Softener services Angie’s List listed were plumbers in any case and I’d rather have the tanks simply swapped out so they can’t help me.

I picked a name brand and will add a report to Angie’s List when I have a verdict. Still holding out hope for getting useful advise from Angie’s List.