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How can I increase the volume while watching Netflix — beyond maxing out the sound control?

Settings > Music > EQ > Late Night

Really, is that all it takes to increase the volume of sound when the volume controls are already maxed out? Yes, try it …

While I continue my passion project of writing a fictional novel — being under no illusion of it’s profit potential — and because I am best at publishing well researched facts, I am today kicking off a new work of non-fiction. For profit.

Exploiting the nascent trend in folks traveling and living in vans, I can see a couple of potentially profitable opportunities to write about: The setup and lifestyle; provisions and cooking; finding potable water; ablutions; camping and boondocking; first aid and maintenance; domicile and vehicle registration; mail and deliveries on the go; and travel planning, destinations and quests etc.

To that end, I have today concluded the purchase of a van to begin researching my book. A year or two from now, I expect that my personal experiences will have yielded something of value worth writing about …

To follow my #vanlife research in pictures, go here.

Me and my 2017 Diesel 4×4 Sprinter Van …

apple watch>alarms

This article will show you how to instruct Siri to set, label, reuse and otherwise manage your Apple Watch alarms …

You probably know how to ask Siri to create alarms on your Apple Watch by saying something like “Hey Siri! Set an alarm for 7.30 am”. Viola! She dutifully sets a generic alarm for 7.30 am. Easy, but she can do much more. Read on. Read More »

yahoo-logoThere’s an insidious hack you need to check on immediately — whether a hacker has changed your settings to auto-forward all your email to another address he controls. He doesn’t care whether you’ve changed the password, if all your email is going to be auto-forwarded to him! In fact, he hopes that you regain confidence in your Yahoo! email and continue using it.  Read More »


Have you ever received an email that you didn’t want to deal with immediately – but didn’t want to forget about? Defer it! Perhaps you want to forward it to somebody else to do but need to set a deadline and a reminder to follow up that it was done? Delegate it! How about sending yourself a reminder for some future date? Schedule it! All by email, here’s how … Read More »

nexflix genre codes

How do you find and add streaming Netflix movies to your “My List” playlist? Most people will either search for a movie by name or select from those promoted or recommended by the site.

If, however, you have a penchant for a particular category there’s a secret URL construct which will “crack” open a treasure chest of movies you may not otherwise have known about. It works like this where genre# is a number e.g. 4089, the number for Foreign Cult Movies. This URL will filter for movies tagged only with that specific genre#

So, where’s the site’s index of genres? Read More »

souse vide tri-tip


Continuing experiments in sous vide: I asked myself whether a roast can be divided and cooked to two precise levels of doneness in one hot water bath? Yes you can. Here’s how …  Read More »

desmond tutuArchbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, affectionately called The Arch, and his wife Leah celebrated their sixtieth anniversary today. I’ve long admired his jovial, opinionated intervention in South African politics — both before apartheid ended and beyond.

The Arch is patron of Braai Day, what’s not to like and admire about that?  Read More »

grove of titans frames


Spoiler: Skip to the bottom for GPS directions/coordinates …

Please donate to the Redwood Park Conservancy to protect the “Grove of Titans” here. They’re finally going to build the long overdue “elevated plank walkways” proposed in this blog — years ago!


In my quest to find and see some giant redwoods I planned a drive down the dusty Howland Hill Road in Jedadiah Smith Redwood State Park: You can take a virtual trip down this dirt road in Google Maps using street view — six miles of a rough, narrow, winding road. Browsing Google Maps, a tantalizing nugget of information came into view: A pin labeled “Grove of Titans”, what was that? More research reveals it to be the site of some of the world’s largest redwoods, exactly what I’d like to find and experience. Where are they?

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chicken sous vide - lemon pepper chicken

This post asks the question: How best to brown fish and chicken after poaching them sous vide? Then follows an experiment with chicken.  Read More »


Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recently proved that smart key fobs which allow a driver to unlock doors and start a vehicle without touching the fob are vulnerable to a simple hack — by extending the distance the fob and vehicle can communicate with one another.  Read More »

atmospheric pressure 2Caption: ALPs students at East Woods experience the “weight” of the atmosphere …

Good friend, photographer and videographer, Michael Fairchild invited me to assist him recently in making a video of the ALPs program students at East Woods learning about atmospheric pressure. In addition to using an up cycled fridge compressor to do basic experiments in a vacuum chamber we opened with a simple demonstration using a large garbage bag and a domestic canister vacuum cleaner — the aim being to let the student crouched inside the bag feel the full weight of atmospheric pressure, something we do not ordinarily experience. Read More »


Caption: This video walks you through the steps described below — it’s mostly silent until the audio output is restored to the speaker for testing/playback …



One of my perennially popular blog posts is a movie review — Symbolism in “The Ninth Gate”  with over 100K views to date — which could benefit from a few video clips lifted from the movie. I recently wanted to record a few clips from a movie streaming on Netflix for another review — only to find that Mac’s QuickTime Player and Safari conspire to prevent me from screen recording. So I futzed around until I got it to work. Today a friend asked how it could be done, so having to write it up for her, I thought to share the process in this post … Read More »

logitech c920 camera Even though Macs are not listed amongst the system this webcam will run on and in spite of Amazon reviews suggesting it works with Mac, I found that it didn’t work for me on my Mac, not without some additional software — I have an 11″ MacBook Air under OS X 10.10 Yosemite. So why buy it? For the purportedly awesome HD quality and H.264 audio compression. I’ll speak to those claims when I have more experience with the camera. For now I want to quickly help you get the camera working on Mac. Read More »

2014 was an adventurous year interrupted with some back surgery — which conspired to keep me away from my blog for a while. I built myself a laptop stand that worked in conjunction with a zero gravity garden chair and hacked an Ikea standing lamp into an iPad stand to use bedside during my recovery when mobility was painful and limited. The laptop stand has since found its way into storage but the iPad stand is a firm favorite of mine, waiting to serve me in the dark of night …

laptop stand and chair 2 laptop stand and chair 1

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