Fitbit Charge 4

At my work we have a thing about giving tacos (🌮) to people when they help you out, do something great or funny – as a show of support. The tacos can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards – and one of those prizes is a Fitbit. I wanted a model upgrade from the ones our company was offering. In November 2020, Costco had a Fitbit Charge 4 bundle for $90.

I brokered a deal with my wife. I’d redeem a $100 Amazon gift card with my tacos and give it to her, and then buy the model I want from Costco.

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1/24 Scale Christmas

Every year, we put some sort of motorized conveyance under the tree. In the past it’s been an HO scale train or slot cars from my childhood. While I like the nostalgia of them, let’s face it – I’m old which means they’re old. So they’re a little finicky to get working well. Still fun, […]

The post 1/24 Scale Christmas appeared first on Meatball Racing.

Every year, we put some sort of motorized conveyance under the tree. In the past it’s been an HO scale train or slot cars from my childhood. While I like the nostalgia of them, let’s face it – I’m old which means they’re old. So they’re a little finicky to get working well. Still fun, but this year I wanted to try something new.

I’ve always wanted to have an indoor model train layout, but since we don’t have room I turned my thoughts to doing an outdoor layout 🤔 But that always seemed extremely expensive. Then a couple ideas came together for me: 1) my #1 Christmas gift item is a 1/24 scale crawler – Axial’s SCX24 and 2) I found a G-scale train set for less than $50.

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Skyetel Local Number VOIP Setup

After setting up my new OpenWrt router, it is time to get my local phone number that I ported from Google Voice to Skyetel working.

Most of the configuration follows this Nerdvittles Skyetel post, but I include some specifics and screenshots for my configuration using OpenWrt, IncrediblePBX on Raspberry Pi, and a Linksys RTP-300 analog telephone adapter.

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Dynamic DNS with OpenWrt 19.07 and nsupdate.info

I went to resurrect my dynamic DNS configuration on my OpenWrt router. The idea was sparked from a reader comment, so I wanted to follow-up on using nsupdate.info with OpenWrt for a DIY Dynamic DNS setup.

Before I began, I thought I should see if there’s a newer OpenWrt version my router can run. I always start on the Supported Devices page of the wiki, but on this visit I was treated to a warning:

If you read the 4/32 warning, the crux of the matter is that there may not be enough RAM to run OpenWrt without crashing. And the small flash area means possibly not having enough room to install LuCI, the web interface, and the packages to access LuCI via HTTPS. Also, there’s this:

Previous versions of OpenWrt (such as earlier versions of 17.01.x, 15.05.x “Chaos Calmer” and prior) contain now-known security vulnerabilities in the kernel, wireless implementation, and/or application code. […] In many cases, these known vulnerabilities are being actively targeted, potentially including by advanced, likely state-sponsored or state-affiliated actor or actors.

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Porting your Google Voice number to Skyetel to use with IncrediblePBX

Once upon a time you could hook your Asterisk-based PBX to your Google Voice account to make and receive calls. How you hooked it up over the years changed (annoyingly). And at the end of 2018, support for accessing Google Voice via XMPP was dropped. Remember when we trusted Google to be the “for the better good” company? Oh, how times have changed.

With the tech giant under increased scrutiny for it’s advertising practices, I’m not at all sad about leaving one of their products behind. The only thing I wanted to keep was my cool Google Voice phone number: 29-FOELL.

I did it with the help of Nerdvittles and included several screenshots here for easy reference. I also used his advice when it came to picking a new VOIP provider. After looking at a few options, I’m going with Skyetel. Not because it’s the cheapest (it’s not), but because it has an important feature for our home phone: E911.

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Whatever happened to anonymous trolling?

TL;DR? Don’t read the comments – they’re taking over the internet (and our lives).

Throwing the previous generation under the bus is a major generalization but – OK boomer – hold my beer.

Anonymous Trolling 1990s-2000s

Back in the day if you wanted to start a flame-war or express your true inner ugliness, you did it anonymously or with an unrecognizable internet handle. If you couldn’t comment anonymously, you registered your username as AssClown69 and went about your business.

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TDK Traction Compound

On carpet tracks, the owners are very particular about what traction compound you’re allowed to use. Rightly so as the tire rubber and compound ultimately work their way into the (expensive) carpet. On dirt and clay it’s not as regulated for club racing because it’s just dirt! This has unintended consequences… One popular “tire sauce” […]

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On carpet tracks, the owners are very particular about what traction compound you’re allowed to use. Rightly so as the tire rubber and compound ultimately work their way into the (expensive) carpet.

On dirt and clay it’s not as regulated for club racing because it’s just dirt! This has unintended consequences… One popular “tire sauce” is liquid wrench. You can even find it listed on the pros setup sheets. While I admire the inventiveness, take a look at the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). With warnings like Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area and Causes skin irritation, it makes you wonder if there’s a better way.

When using liquid wrench I would wear nitrite gloves to make sure it’s not soaking into my skin. Wearing gloves for tire chemical treatment is generally a good idea, but if I can also avoid irritating fumes, even better.

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Super Simple Hard Cider

My wife got me this hard cider kit from Brooklyn BrewShop for Christmas:

Unfortunately apple cider was very out of season at the time. As we get back into the height of cider season, I want to tell you how easy it is to make hard cider with three (3!) ingredients and have it ready to drink in about a month.

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