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Category Archives: Geek(ish)

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 …

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 »


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 »

candle lighter bottle rocket - parts

A quickie mini-maker project: Launch a bottle rocket from a modified candle lighter … Read More »

This started out as a 48 hour experiment but I wasn’t hungry last night, even though this is a pretty small rack of ribs. So I left them in the hot water bath for another 18 hours until lunch today! This speaks to a benefit of sous vide: With most foods, when you’re cooking up near the safety of 60˚C, you have a wide window in which to finish off and serve up a meal — still cooked to perfection.

sous vide 60hr ribs at 60C served

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Cooking en sous vide requires a hot water bath with precisely controlled temperatures and a method of vacuum sealing food in bags. Accurate timing isn’t required but a digital thermometer is a good idea to ensure food safety and doneness.

My own bath is a piece of old lab equipment which I refurbished using an STC-1000 temperature controller. It’s not typically where you would start out experimenting but the volume of water it holds and the circulating pump is ideal for cooking larger family meals.

souse vide stc-1000 and haake parts

The key piece of hardware I used is an STC-1000 temperature controller which is typically used in tropical aquariums, beer brewing and now also sous vide.

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20130221-195001.jpgAssembled and under test: What lay flat and precariously wired up on my workbench has been neatly bundled up. A piece of lab equipment brought back to life, it’s original temperature controller replaced with an inexpensive STC-1000 controller typically used as a thermostat in tropical aquariums, beer brewing — and, most recently, in sous vide.

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souse vide steak 3.4 banner

Flank steak is a tough cut, sold locally by the name London Broil. It’s tenderised, marinated and broiled and then cut into thin slices across the grain — all in an effort to deal with a sinewy slab of meat.

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sous vide steak 3.3

Juicy and tasty! Read More »

Sous Vide 2.5 Nearly ideal: Aiming for a medium rare steak, evenly pink between the surface crusts. This steak was cooked in a hot water bath ala sous vide: The intention is to cook the item evenly, not to overcook the outside, keeping the inside at an even doneness … resulting in a steak that is tender and juicy. Read More »

sous vide water bath prototypeI’m trying to cook the perfect steak, evenly pink throughout with a thin brown crust — and almost no grey in between. I think the way to get there is via sous vide: To poach a steak medium rare and then to sear on a tasty crust using a propane torch.

My experiments in sous vide starts with a prototype hot water bath in the workshop. I replaced a non-working thermostat in this piece of old lab equipment with the temperature controller for a tropical aquarium. More on the build in a later post, when I’ve worked out all the kinks and housed all the pieces safely. Read More »

In researching my earlier post on the Ideas BBS, I went looking for its inception date and phone number in my copies of old Tac2 newsletters. On browsing the May 1982 issue I was reminded that I served as it’s chairman for a handful of years … in the mid eighties. That was a whole lot of fun!

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