G33kDadShow! Update

November 28, 2016

What’s going on?

May 22, 2016

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I am SUPER wrapped up in politics this election cycle. I have concerns about the future of our country and our freedoms if either of the two major party frontrunners become President. If Sec. Clinton is the nominee for the Democratic Party, I have decided to pull back from national party politics. Sec. Clinton has nothing new to offer this country and Mr. Trump, well, he is a whole other kettle of fish.

The passion of my heart is justice; social justice, biblical justice, Christ’s justice. I wish to pursue justice for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, and neither Sec. Clinton or Mr. Trump have much to say on real social justice. I don’t know exactly how i will do this, at this point. But you will not see partisan political postings from me on social media. I will turn off what little corporate cable news I consume. I think it’s time to be a hippie. I want to do what Bishop John Shelby Spong calls “loving wastefully.” I want to hug more and argue less. I want to do more and sit less. I want to live more and wait to die less.

Grace and peace,
Matty
@sahgeekdad
geekdad.thestrangeland.net

Top 5 Tools and Gadgets from the G33k Dad Kitchen – GDSE06

November 19, 2015

Hey. This is Matt, the stay-at-home geek dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is Episode 6: Top 5 Tools and Gadgets from the geek dad kitchen. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it!

Intro

Hello and welcome to the G33kDadShow! I am so excited to be here with you. We have been on a bit of a hiatus since the last episode. I apologize and I have a very cool episode coming up for you today. We’re stepping away from the server room and into one of my other favorite rooms in the house, the kitchen. If you want to follow along with the show notes for episode 6, you can find them, at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6

As a full time dad, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals for my kids and my wife. Speaking of my lovely wife, she works the graveyard shift from 6pm to 6am so she doesn’t eat with the rest of us during her work week. That means the meals I make have to be good as leftovers or as a reheat meal while she’s at work. I have several staples that I make all the time. We don’t eat a lot of red meat at our house but we do eat a lot of chicken, pork, and seafood. We are blessed to live in one of the most fertile parts of the country so we have fresh fruits and veggies available most of the time. If you like peaches, plums, apricots, cherries… this is a great place to live. Also, nearby, we have festivals for asparagus, artichokes, and a world famous garlic festival.

In order to prepare all this good food, I have several kitchen tools I rely on and I want to tell you about them in this episode of the G33kDadShow! If you want to follow along with the show notes, you can find them at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6. Ok, let’s get to the list…

List

  1. Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
  2. NuWave Oven (fast cooker, lol)
  3. Egg Cooker
  4. Hot Water Kettle
  5. COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE

Let’s take a look at these in some more depth.

Slow Cooker

First, my slow cooker. I use it all the time in the fall, winter, and spring; but not so much in the summer. Typically I use the slow cooker for soups and stews. These are not typically “summer” dishes in California. I do, however, make the occasional pork shoulder or roast chicken in my slow cooker. There are many resources on using a slow cooker for just about any meal on any day. If you are a reddit user, I encourage you to checkout /r/slowcooking. There are lots of great recipes floating around, as well as discussions on different kinds/brands of cookers. It’s an active community and an example of one of the best parts of reddit, in my opinion. My current favorite easy slow cooker recipe is to put a whole, cut-up chicken in the pot and pour over a jar of your favorite salsa. Cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8. When it’s done, pick out the bones and use the meat mixture for tacos, enchiladas, or any other Mexican dish. It’s superb. I have also successfully made some of the best Chicken Tortilla Soup by following a recipe I found on youtube. I will link to the video in the shownotes. Chicken Tortilla Soup

NuWave Oven

The next item on the list has become famous among the late-night infomercial crowd; it is called a NuWave oven. I started the list with my slow cooker, this my friends, is a fast cooker. It uses three types of heat, conduction, convection, infra-red, to cook food from the inside and the outside at the same time. Because of this, you can pull frozen food out and put it right in the NuWave and cook it. And it comes out great! Can you imagine putting a whole, frozen chicken in the oven and baking it for an hour? You would have half-frozen, salmonella bird. But in my NuWave, that frozen chicken is ready in a little over an hour and it tastes like it came from the rotisserie at the grocery store. Brilliant! It cooks all types of meats from frozen to perfection in such a short time, but it doesn’t stop there. It roasts vegetables, it bakes cookies, and it is the best thing on the planet for reheating cold pizza. I’m telling you, this machine is so worth the price. I don’t remember the last time I turned on my actual oven…. ok, so, I got a take n bake pizza a week or so ago. That was the last time. Still

Egg Cooker

Next we have an item that I got in the last year and a half or so and I don’t know how I lived without it. It is from Cuisinart and it is called the Egg Central egg cooker. Now, I will have links in the shownotes which you can find at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6. At our house, we love hard boiled eggs. However, the really awful part about them is trying to peel them! It never works. This little cooker will cook up to 10 eggs to hard boiled in about 10 min. It uses steam to do the cooking and these eggs peel perfectly every time. It’s amazing. It comes with several inserts which enable you to poach eggs as well as make steamed omelets. I never do anything but hard cook eggs in this machine and it’s worth every penny. Even if you never eat hard boiled eggs but perhaps you make a batch of deviled eggs at Easter or dye eggs with the kids, I think this little gadget is perfect for you.

Hot Water Kettle

This next item is a staple in homes all over the UK and Ireland. In fact, many Brits I talk to can’t believe we don’t have these. I am talking, of course, of a hot water kettle. As Americans, we don’t drink as much tea as our UK cousins. However, these handy items can be a boon to your kitchen, as well. Do you ever make Jell-o? Or how about instant soup? How many recipes do you make that call for hot water? These kettles do one thing and one thing only. They boil water. Simple, straight forward, easy. Mine is a Hamilton Beach model called the Programmable 1.7 Liter Kettle, model no. 40996z . I chose this particular kettle for two main reasons. The first is, the kettle sits on a base which provides the electrical connection to the heating element in the bottom of the carafe. This means I can lift the kettle off the base and I don’t have to drag the cord across the counter to my cup. The other reason I wanted this kettle is it has variable temperatures it can heat to. Different types of tea call for different temperatures of water. Also, if I am making instant soup for my kids, I don’t want the water all the way to boiling or the soup will take forever to cool enough for them to eat it. I know a hot water kettle isn’t the sexiest item, but if you get one, you may wonder how you ever got along without it. In fact, I will be bringing this item up again in the next section.

COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE

So, lastly, we address, not a gadget per se but more of a daily requirement. That is, of course, coffee. I love coffee and tea. I drink hot coffee and tea from about November 1st to about May 1st. Then I switch to iced versions. To this end, I have several ways to make coffee at my home. The one that gets the most use is my Keurig. For anyone who may not know, a Keurig is a single-serve, hot drink maker. The coffee or tea or other hot beverage comes in small plastic cups and then hot water is forced through the cup and into the waiting mug. Keurig brewers have a following and plenty of detractors, as well. Chief among the complaints are the amount of waste that is generated by the k-cups. Be that as it may, I love my Keurig and I use it for hot coffee and iced coffee all year long.
I also have a French Press…. ok, I have 3 of them. I love this simple little way to make coffee. You scoop coarse ground coffee into the carafe, pour over hot water, let it steep and then press the grounds to the bottom of the carafe. The coffee is smooth and has a bit of a creamy mouth feel. I’m a cream and Splenda guy, usually. However in the fall, I always pick up a bottle of Torrani Syrup in the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie flavor. It is so good. Earlier I mentioned my hot water kettle would be making another appearance. The particular model I have also has a timer feature similar to a drip coffee maker. That means I can set a time and temperature and have the kettle come on in the morning. That way, I can come downstairs, scoop my coffee, and my hot water is all ready to go.
Lastly, I will tell you about my espresso maker. Espresso is one of these things that never existed until someone invented the machine to make it. Legend is an Italian man was upset that his employees were taking too long for their coffee breaks. To fix this, he invented a machine to force steam through coffee grounds in order to brew the coffee stronger and faster. Espresso was born. Now, I love espresso, I just don’t love the time it takes to make it, measuring the grounds, pressing them down, starting the machine, and hoping it all comes out right. Because of this, I let my espresso machine sit and gather dust for quite a while. We had received a Breville Cafe Roma machine as a wedding gift and I think I had used it 5 times in as many years. Then, I discovered espresso pods. Pods are small, filter pouches with a compressed espresso puck inside. It is similar to a tea bag. You place this in the portafilter of your espresso machine and then start the machine. It works great; no mess, no measuring, no packing… just a couple of great shots of espresso ready for drinking or making into a latte, cappuccino, or other drink.

Honorable Mention

So, I do have a couple of other items that I didn’t think warranted a whole section. I have an electric steamer/rice cooker, I have a Ninja Blender and Food Processor, a waffle iron. All of these serve a purpose in my kitchen, but the items in the main list are my “daily drivers”; they are the things I use most often when preparing meals for my family. In a previous episode, I talked about making veggies your kids will eat. The link will be in the shownotes for this episode. Making Veggies Your Kids Will Eat You can find the shownotes for this episode, episode 6, at geekdad.thestrangeland.net/6. Pair that episode with this one and you will have a good start toward outfitting a geek dad kitchen.

Conclusion

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this episode of the G33kDadShow! We’ve discussed several things that I use to make my work in the kitchen easier and better for my family. Do you use any of these things? What other things are essential in your kitchens? I’d love to hear from you. You can send me email, the address is feedback@thestrangeland.net. If you are on twitter, you can follow me or on Google+. You can find those links on my website at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/contact. This fun little chiptune you are enjoying is Quantum Leaper by Azureflux. Earlier in the show, you heard Convalescence II: Love Again by Anima, and Sands of Time by Psychadelik Pedestrian. You can find these tracks and many more at the Free Music Archive. FMA has music in every genre imaginable all with freedom respecting licenses. Go check them out and find some new tunes! The G33kDadShow! is hosted by the Internet Archive. In the archive you will find other podcasts, excellent live concert recordings (I particularly enjoy the Grateful Dead shows!), articles, ebooks, videos… even old-school video games you can play right in your web browser. This podcast would not be possible without the Internet Archive, so big thanks and much love to them, some of the best people in San Francisco as far as I’m concerned.

Thanks for downloading this episode of the G33kDadShow!, your podcast about the intersection of parenting and technology. Our next episode will be about movies and the kiddos; we will talk about appropriateness of movies for kids, which movies a g33kdad makes sure his kids see, and look at the pros and cons of going to the movies with kids vs staying home to watch. I hope you will join us. I hope to have that episode out just after the Thanksgiving holiday so watch the feed for that one.

For now I will say, “Take care of yourselves” and “See you next time!”

Bye!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen

November 1, 2015

PDF-Shuffler: Simple, Elegant, Fantastic!

October 11, 2015

Hello!

icon
Every once in a while I come across a piece of software that does exactly what I need it to do, while being simple and straight forward to use. PDF-Shuffler is such an application. If you need to add, remove, or shuffle pages in a .pdf document PDF-Shuffler comes through in a big way.

Installation

For ubuntu-based distros, this is a simple apt-get pdfshuffler. For Arch users you can find pdfshuffler in the AUR. For other distros, check out your repos or download it directly from sourceforge.

Usage

The application is dead simple. Run it from your launcher of choice and you get a very simple window. Click the button with the + to open a pdf file. The pages become tiles in the window. From there, you can rearrange the pages simply by clicking on them and dragging them around. Want to export some pages from the pdf into a new document? No problem. You have a couple of choices:

  1. Click on the page or pages you want to export, right click and select export.
  2. Open up another instance of pdfshuffler (in xfce, I just clicked it again on the whisker menu), drag the pages from the initial document into the new blank window, put them in the order you want, save a new pdf and you’re done.

One of my favorite parts about this is, your original pdf is NOT destroyed! The pages are exported, not moved out. It’s killer!

Sample Project

The reason I wanted to find software to do this is I had a cookbook I had scanned. The front and back covers were in one pdf file and the content was in another. I thought, I wonder if I could find a program to put the covers into the other document so it would be complete. I searched and found PDF-Shuffler, installed it, opened up my files and bing, bang, boom, I was done. I think it took me longer to search and find and install the software than it did to do the project I was trying to accomplish.

Conclusion

Well, I hope you learned something from this post. If you need to do some simple changes to some pdf documents, you can’t find a better application on Linux than PDF-Shuffler. If you need to actually edit the content of the pdf, you’ll need to look elsewhere, but for basic operations, this one is great!
Thanks for checking it out!
SDG,
Matt
@sahg33kdad – twitter

Hacker Public Radio Episode – What’s in my Bag? – GDS Special Edition

July 2, 2015

Howdy podcast people! This is Matt, the stay at home G33k Dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is a special edition: What’s in my bag?

Well, hello all of you out there and welcome to the G33kDadShow! I am bringing you a special edition of the podcast today. You will be hearing my latest recording for Hacker Public Radio; an episode entitled, “What’s in my bag?”. Doing a What’s in my Bag episode is something of a right of passage on HPR. Often one of the first couple of podcasts a new host records for HPR is a WIMB episode. This is my 4th offering on HPR and I hope you enjoy it. Incidentally, the show dropped yesterday on HPR. So, if you subscribe to HPR, you will already have this episode in your feed.

Thanks for listening and now, here is my HPR episode in its entirety.

Bye, bye!

A first tonight!

I am recording my first guest appearance on another podcast tonight! I’m excited and a bit nervous. I will be speaking with John Wilkerson of The Wired Homeschool podcast and we will be talking about open source alternatives for homeschoolers. This is going to be a great opportunity to get some visibility for my show, as well as passing on my passions for open source software to a new audience.

Check John out at http://thewiredhomeschool.com or follow him on twitter @wiredhs!

Peace,

Matt

Marvel Collector Corps Unboxing 2

June 29, 2015

Oh yeah!

Own Your Cloud – GDSE05

June 8, 2015

Hi, this is Matt, the Stay-At-Home G33k Dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is episode 5, Own your cloud. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it!

Welcome, welcome to episode 5 of the G33kDadShow! I am so glad you have all tuned in. I have some new gear I am excited to be testing out. My goal is to try and do as much of the show live… well, live to recording, as possible. Currently, I do not have a mixer so it is difficult to do the music live. I will have to add that stuff in post-production. However, I am doing my best to have the episode scripted so I can sit down and record it in one go! If you want to follow along with the show notes, you can find them on our website.

In our last episode we talked a bit about “the cloud”. We talked about how the nomenclature came to be used and we talked about how we use the cloud in our everyday computing and social lives. Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into a specific kind of cloud. If you use Dropbox or Google Drive, then you are familiar with the concept of cloud storage. That is, you upload or sync your files from your local computer or mobile device to a storage site on the internet. We will talk about the difference between uploading and syncing in a second. Once you have uploaded or synced your files, you can access them from other computers connected to the internet. These are sometimes referred to as public clouds because anyone can get an account on them. Public cloud doesn’t refer to a service that is open to the public in such a way that just anyone can download your stuff. This is not what we are talking about today; today we are talking about private clouds.

By definition, a private cloud is cloud storage that is owned and managed by an individual or organization for the sole use of itself. There are several ways you can accomplish this from the very technical to the very simple. It is the simple way that appeals to me, not because I am fearful of setting up, running, and securing my own sFTP server, but because, who has the time? No, I use an awesome piece of software called, ownCloud. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am more than just an ownCloud fanboy. I am acquainted with the developer and community manager and helped to staff the ownCloud booth at SCaLE this year. I am, however, not a paid representative, merely an enthusiastic user.

ownCloud is a web application, written in HTML, PHP, Javascript, and some CSS, for styling. It is very approachable from a user perspective and even as an administrator, it is very simple to set up and manage. ownCloud is available in two versions, technically, but both are based on the same core. The community edition, which is free as in freedom but also free as in beer, can be downloaded and installed on any web server which supports PHP5. It can use MySQL or MariaDB as a database, but if you are only using it as an individual, it can also use SQLite. It can be run on bare metal, on a VPS, or even on shared hosting. Basically, if you have some web space somewhere, you can probably run ownCloud. In fact, if you do have shared hosting, ownCloud has provided an easy way for you to install. You download a file from the ownCloud website and upload it to your shared hosting. Then you simply navigate to that file in your web browser and follow along with the simple installation instructions. Piece of cake!!! If you want to run on a server you host, there are instructions for installing on many different Linux distributions. What I do, and what I find the easiest for my needs, is run ownCloud on a VPS or virtual private server. What this means is I have a server that I run and I have administrative access to, but the hardware is owned by my provider. In my case, I am using Digital Ocean. I pay $5 per month for a server with 20GB of storage space and I use that to host my ownCloud. It works flawlessly! So what do I use ownCloud for? I’m glad you asked! I use the calendar and contact management features of ownCloud to support my android phone. ownCloud uses standard CalDAV and CardDAV protocols so I can sync my calendar and contacts to my phone, without using Google Calendar or Google Contacts. Not only does that data now come under my control, I have noticed a distinct battery savings using ownCloud for my syncing over using Google’s services. I wonder if this is because my phone isn’t polling Google for updates all the time… perhaps?

I also use ownCloud to sync files between my different computers and to share files with my friends and family. I do not, however, use it for backup. This is because of the difference between uploading files and syncing files. ownCloud syncs. That means,at least for you designated sync folders, it will echo what you do on your local machine. So if you delete a file from your local machine, ownCloud will dutifully delete the file from your server. ownCloud assumes you know what you are doing. This makes for a silly backup solution. But backups are important, right? We will be talking about that topic, in a later episode of the G33kDadShow!

Well, thanks so much for tuning into this episode of the G33kDadShow! I hope you have enjoyed this 2 part look at the Cloud. In the next episode of the show, we will be leaving the server room stuff behind and moving into the kitchen. I will be telling you about the 5 best kitchen tools a G33kDad can have.

The theme song for this episode is, as always, Insurrection by Grant Bowtie. Grant has some great electronic and dubstep music on his soundcloud page, you will find that link in the shownotes at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/5. Like all of our episodes, this one is hosted by the Internet Archive at archive dot org. Check them out over there you will find a bunch of very cool music, live concerts, podcasts… there is even a section of retro video games you can play right in your web browser. Nice. Head on over to the website for me, the SAH G33kDad. g33kdad.thestrangeland.net where you will find articles to support and expand on this podcast. I have a recent article up about choosing between iOS and Android for your phone or tablet. Also a quick video post unboxing the first box of the Marvel Collector Corps, link to them and to the video are in the shownotes.

If you want to send some feedback you can hit me up on twitter I am @sahg33kdad, you can send me email to feedback@thestrangeland.net. Or just hit up the website at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net and use the contact link in the sidebar. Thanks again for listening to this episode of the G33kDadShow!, catch you next time! Bye, bye.

Links

  1. Grant’s Soundcloud Page: soundcloud.com/grantbowtie
  2. Marvel Collector Corps: collectorscorps.com
  3. Marvel Unboxing Video: G33kDad YouTube Channel
  4. iOS vs Android Article: g33kdad.thestrangeland.net
  5. Matt’s Amazon Wish List: Stuff I Want

Marvel Collector Corps Unboxing! (Video)

May 20, 2015

Oh, yeah!