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June 22, 2014
by Don
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Car Switcheroo

About November 2013 or so, while on a business trip to Sioux City, IA my beloved and reliable Cavalier bled out on the side of highway 20. Upon our return and re-deposit of our rental vehicle I proceeded to find an interim car that would get through the winter at least. I guess in this case, one of the nice things about a Wisconsin winter is the fact that road salt tends to inflict premature death on vehicle bodies. I managed to find a 1997 Saturn SC1; it was in OK shape, and missing a 2nd gear.

A good thing about a plastic car, is there isn’t much to rust in the winter. Well, some does but it’s all covered up right?

DSC00049 20140525_171328

Saturn SC1 - Winter Racing BEASTTo make a long story short, she lasted me through the winter, and even served
“Team Busted Gear” well in the 2013 Cheese Freeze rally. But alas, the time has been rapidly approaching where she’s got to serve someone else. Luckily for me, the perfect replacement landed right in my lap and for a GREAT price.


Less miles, more power, better gas mileage, and not much to fix. She’s now mine and will remain so until she decides to no longer run.

In the meantime, the green machine is getting a long-needed replacement transmission and general fix-up. The green Saturn is in great shape, except for a few mechanical things we’re working on, the transmission replacement and tune up. Will be for sale soon!

I managed to find a replacement transmission and have started the teardown, here’s pics so far:

20140622_174339 20140616_231828 20140614_214715 20140609_203206 20140622_174328


May 13, 2014
by Don
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OS Pissing Wars, Seriously?

I don’t regularly rant much about these sorts of things but I had an exchange recently on LinkedIn with someone whom I won’t mention simply because I’m going to take the high road here and NOT be a dick.

Not sure if it’s happened to you or anyone you know, but in the past few weeks I’ve received, twice now, invitations on LinkedIn from people whom desire to connect with me. Cool, I think. WRONG! Upon accepting their connection thinking they may have a business or partnership idea or whatnot I find in their response that they personally DID NOT initiate the invitation to connect, and even go as far to tell me they have no idea who I am or why their account ever sent me a connection request. Ok, I get it. Sometimes we click things we didn’t intend, sometimes we leave our accounts open at a coffee shop, and sometimes we just simply have crappy passwords and actually get hacked by someone. It happens right?

Here is the latest example of one such exchange, the last comment (at the top) is what really blows my mind here:


NO. You didn’t really just do that. What this guy is basically telling me is that *I* received a LinkedIn invitation to connect with him NOT because someone compromised his account and sent it or maybe he even sent it accidentally, but because the Android mobile app for LinkedIn on MY PHONE is “ill-behaved” and somehow managed to initiate a connection request from his account to mine?

Yep, and that totally has an effect on the fact that I received the invitation initially on my Windows PC. Come to think about it, I suppose Windows 8 could be “ill-behaved” too, maybe I should have tried logging into LinkedIn on a Mac, then I’ll bet it would all be rainbows and unicorns, right? Maybe this would have never happened?


… and hundreds of thousands of IT administrators, engineers, and techies in general wonder why the “users” never give you kudos, why you are stuck in your dead-end careers, and why people consistently walk all over you and never take your advice or learn anything from you.

It’s because you’re full of yourself!


Here’s how I feel about Android:

give-a-shitAnd here’s how I feel about iOS:


When you figure out how to step back from the tech and see the need and solution instead, you’ll realize that nobody really cares what tech they use so long as it does what they need it to do… unless you’re a geek, in which case then that’s cool; but nobody really cares.

Seriously though. It’s 100% possible your account was compromised… so what? It’s possible. You being in IT yourself doesn’t make you immune to hacking simply because you’re supposed to know better. We don’t all pick the best passwords and sometimes we leave things logged in, or maybe even accidentally click on something we didn’t intend on. Maturity in professional services (like IT administration) means you own up and move on, not respond insinuating that the OS I chose to use on my mobile device is responsible for your poor password choice.

And for those who DO give a shit? the data don’t lie bro – Android is blowing the doors off of iOS:


From here:

May 6, 2014
by Don
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Found a donor transmission!

I didn’t post about it here but last November a 80lb hunk of metal fell off a semi in Iowa and destroyed my Cavalier’s engine & tranny. After totalling and getting half it’s original purchase value back (Hell Yeah!) I settled on a beater for winter. Well, like most older cars tend to do, it grew on me; only thing is it had no 2nd gear.

Well, months later and lots of searching, a suitable donor was located! Got me a summer project now.


April 30, 2014
by Don
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Of best friends and brotherhood

Few things in life prepare you for those personal events that shock your inner being, leaving you scratching your head wondering if things could have turned out differently. Unavoidable thoughts in your ongoing internal dialogue following the loss of a loved one. I’m attempting to use this post as a way to, in words, memorialize the gift and privilege of being able to experience life with my best friend as I try to process everything.

jasonOn December 23rd, 2013 my brother passed out of this life. Today, or rather, a few hours ago, would have been his 32nd birthday. So technically he’s my friend; in reality, my brother. An interesting and eccentric man, he loved those that he loved with all he had. He kept to himself and did what made him happy, kept a small group of loyal, loving and close friends and was always ready to give the shirt off his back for any of them. His outlook about life in general was always different from whatever yours was so it was pretty easy for the uninitiated to mistake him for a dick sometimes, but looking back now I can finally see just how open and wise he really was. The things he taught me or rather, tried to teach me about life, happiness and staying true to yourself are things I once didn’t understand until I had the opportunity to learn them by other means, and then go on to realize he was right all along.

I remember back in the day when I was young, dumb, fresh outta school and full of myself as I was beginning the journey into corporate hot-shot’dom. He drilled my ass day in and day out about how one day I’m going to resent ever chasing a certain brand of “Success”. He was right. Two kids, a mortgage, marriage, burnt out from my first career, and 10-some years later I finally get it. I surely don’t resent the kids and wife! but lemme tell you, I surely do resent the motives behind placing work before all else – talk about soul-sucking. As I write this now I’ll be honest, I shed a tear thinking about how I’d surely love to thank him for at least trying to convince me way back then when we were still kids.

He was like that. He knew things.

Met the guy way back in 1996. My family had moved to Wisconsin after my father had completed his 20 year career a Navy Seabee, wanting to now settle down. As our family was concerned, it was the end of us having to move to a new post every 3 years; the only stability I knew of up until then was my family unit and the fact that we’d end up moving every few years. Friends were temporary… part of the military life that you accepted. I was born into it and didn’t know any different though so it was a little weird and made me worrisome to think of how I’d get by knowing that there was no automated 3 year reset button this time around. We settled on a house situated in the “burbs” of Poynette, where I was to start my freshman year that year.

The packers won the super bowl that year – I learned all about what Wisconsin culture was like for a high school kid in a small farm town, tried to make friends amidst a sea of small-town kids who didn’t know what to make of me; I ended up eventually settling into being one of those guys that hung out with anyone; an equal opportunity friend I guess, never really fitting into any one particular group as my now fairly diversified list of facebook friends originally from Poynette will attest to. Lucky for me, he was one of those guys too. I can’t recall how it happened but somehow we got to know one another. I think it might have had a little to do with the fact that back then we both liked trucks, computers, naked ladies, blowing shit up, and defying the status quo at every turn; a quality that somehow landed us in some rather interesting situations of getting into trouble for pretty weird things.

Over the years we grew closer as friends to the point where by senior year we were practically family, and as my parents were entering the dreaded “divorce phase” of their marriage, I had done screwed up a lot of my hopes for ever graduating let alone with a decent set of grades. His parents physically took me in to live with them and quite literally (at least as a scared high school senior, I thought so anyway) threatened to kick my ass if I didn’t graduate. Against the odds, and with his help and encouragement we pulled it off. To this day and forever, this act of love is one which no feeling or words exist to express the gratitude I have for him and his family and whether he, or his parents ever knew – and while seemingly insignificant in the way I present it here, was one of the most pivotal moments to ever shape my life’s direction, who I am as a person, and the way I view the world to this day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI married my high school sweetheart-he best manned our wedding, thanks bro! But we eventually moved away to Maryland to start a family and “Chase the dream”. I achieved it, but was ultimately unsatisfied with my motives once I figured life out a little more on my own. I can still remember the late night calls when we initially moved out there and I was desperate for someone to convince me I wasn’t selling out-even though I still wouldn’t listen, he knew. Eventually though, and while my wife and I learned a ton about life and grew immeasurably in our relationship, we realized there was more to life than what we were doing there and came back to Wisconsin to be close to our families. J and I didn’t see much of one another during those last few years; although I made it a point though to come back to WI 4 or so times a year… so when we did get to chill we still shot the shit, philosophized and bantered about life over cigarettes and Mt. Dew in the workshop or barn, engaging in redneck activities like building lasers to cut through steel, getting all the dogs in Poynette to go insane using sound waves, running lawnmowers on water; shit like that. The last time we hung out just late last year before he passed, we pissed off some hunters doing target practice during hunting hours, went down to check out some train tracks & a rail switch down the road from where he lived, and discovered the awesome firestarting properties of a polymer-based screen backing they used to put in old LCD TVs. I bagged a few pieces to throw into my pile of camping stuff. We had our own little brand of ‘fun’ going on there and in a way we kinda never really grew up ;)

DSC01940 jason_atv jason_potato jason_laser

He surely didn’t have it all, but deep down was solid in himself and had measured success by his own yardstick, definitely fought an unfair share of hardship and strife, but I believe that the good Lord put him here to do something special. We may not know what it is/was, but what I do know is that he has been imprinted into the fabric of my life personally and will without a doubt live on inside of my heart so long as I draw breath here on the Earth.

So here we are now… It’s your birthday my brother. On the outside I do what I do best now. Clients need help, sales need to happen, family needs love, and the bills are due soon (no, really… it’s almost May 1). I promise to do everything I can to help your parents if they ever need it. Inside, the past few months have been a little confusing, it’s been difficult to process this even after a few months have gone by but what I pray for just about every day is that God is pleased with your time here and what you did with it to be something special to those you are close to and make a difference in their lives; because at least for me, your impact will be everlasting even though sometimes I didn’t show it or thank you enough. I hope you now see how loved you always were to everyone you loved so very much :)

Until the next life! Much love to ya bro!

February 27, 2014
by Don
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Dane County girl raped, starved, imprisoned by family – they get 5 YEARS

This poor girl was imprisoned, home schooled with a 3rd grade workbook, starved, raped, beaten and forced to eat her own SHIT for 6 YEARS – BY HER OWN FAMILY; right here in our own backyard, Right here in Dane County. Check out the story from USA Today, it’s pretty unbelievable. Even worse to stomach if you’re the family type with younger kids, I cannot believe that anyone would even consider doing such a thing to their own kin… and for so long.

Luckily Mike Vega was there, he found her walking along in pajamas, barefoot with a bloody face and he took her in. Thank God he was there for her instead of just driving by. The police were able to pick up the family and take them into custody. This all happened in November, 2013.

Just this week however, those responsible for these heinous acts were sentenced to 5 years in prison. Her father, Chad Chritton and stepmother have been charged with child abuse, child neglect and reckless endangerment along with her stepbrother; and sentenced as well to only 5 years by Dane County Judge Julie Genovese. The stepbrother had prior sexual assault charges even, yet they were only sentenced 5 years.

It’s a little hard to hear this story as I have myself, a 9 year old girl at this time. What possesses those involved to do such a sickening thing to their own family? This girl is supposed to be learning, growing and cherishing life at that age, and she was robbed of some of her most formative years by the very people whom she should have been safest with, her family. This girl is ruined, no matter what is done, no matter how much therapy if given this will be a scar left on her life until the day she dies. She was robbed of a critical part of her childhood and now who knows what effect that will have on her life going forward. These 3 monsters have ruined the life of another, likely feel little remorse and while I believe the real judging should be left to God; we have a responsibility here to uphold a civil and lawful society while we’re here on Earth, and as such we dish out our own justice for the sake of the common good. I’m sorry, but there’s a lesson to learn here and I personally don’t believe that 5 years is enough time to learn it for these people.

You see, the painful thing here is that those responsible have practically escaped punishment. They get to enjoy their prison sentence, segregated from general population, for a mere 5 years thanks to the awesome sentencing handed down by blockbuster Judge Julie. Is this the message we want to send out there Judge? Do we really want to tell the world that here in Dane County, we don’t give a shit about protecting our progeny? Did you miss something when you got your criminal justice degree? Maybe you thought that criminal justice means that the actual criminals should get the justice, because that’s exactly what you did here. We just told the world that here in Dane County, we’re soft on crime and I think this is sickening.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say I live here in Dane County. Kind of makes me wonder if this will be the last time?? how many others out there like you think that this is acceptable? You don’t belong in that seat.

If this sort of thing is a little outrageous to you, go sign the petition to impeach this sorry excuse for a Judge. SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Maybe “we the people” can get some justice for this poor girl as she goes about the grueling process of attempting to rebuild her shattered and stolen life.


February 16, 2014
by Don
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C’mon church, don’t be like this

Ok so this isn’t necessarily directed at the whole church at large but rather a certain trait that pops up in congregations everywhere which unfortunately are the cause of many a Christian to stumble, leave, or resent their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Church. is. not. a. friends. club.

This is especially evident with women but I feel I need to say it, stop it with the cliques. Seriously, what is this, high school?

I can’t count the times, especially when “church shopping” where I noticed or experienced outsiders, new people, smokers, rednecks, or others being completely ignored or almost what seems to be dismissed from fellowship for purely “cosmetic” reasons. HYPOCRITES!

What are you doing at small groups when you ignore new people and fail to bring them into your conversations and fellowship? What does that say about you? What does that say about Christ, whom which your life is to be a example of? When you go to church on sunday and only ever make fellowship wih your “group”, what does that say about your commitment to live in the example of Christ? What love does it show when you are “too good” to break bread with he smoker, the redneck, the felon, or the homeless guy that stumbles into church that day?

They’re not on the same level as you? You wouldn’t have much in common you say… Yeah, same way Christ had tons in common with the prostitutes of his day, yet he hung out with them, he fellowshipped them, he let his life be an example for theirs to follow. Yes they are expected to change their ways and follow God, but thats where you come in. Get out of your comfort zone for once and you might see that your example alone can potentially bring them to Christ’s love.

Wisconsin is full of stubborn, change-avoiding, prideful people but remember these are all traits which we are asked to cast off. I realize there is a big Lutheran and Catholic influence here and many local Christians are either part of or previously of these religious doctrines. Let it go. Christianity is NOT a religion.

Romans 12:16 ESV says:
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Humble yourself, because you’re not as “good” as you think you are. Everyone is broken and is there for the same reason as you. Fellowship with all, love all, for the only one qualified to judge is the great Judge himself, Jesus Christ.

Get rid of the cliques and start fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters, you just might find a great friend in someone you would normally not associate with. He might be a felon, or full of tattoos, or simply a new girl from a different part of the country; Someone though whom may even be a heaven sent key to strengthening your own walk with Christ… if you’d only humble yourself enough to accept their friendship.

February 9, 2014
by Don
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2 asic modules: out of comission

Awwwwww SNAP. Just when I thought I had these things running awesome 2 of my asic boards go BOOM!

Busted capacitor on avalon2 ASIC module

Busted tantalum cap on an avalon2 asic module

One of my two Avalon rigs decided one day to simply stop mining. After checking out the stats, cgminer actually started up and pretended to work, except it refused to actually DO work. A full tear down later… the pics show what I found.

Pretty sure I did that. I’ve been screwing around a little too much lately trying different settings and seeing how much I could overclock them. In my basement. Where it’s NOT cold. My guess? they probably got too hot while I had ‘em running like a bat out of hell. I’ve since put them out in the garage to take full advantage of the Wisconsin winter where they gleefully run at about 40c all day long.

So lucky me, now I get to mine at reduced speed for the time being. NO idea if replacing those caps will bring these boards back to life as I have no idea nor way to really tell if their being blown happened to fry anything else on the board – guess I shouldn’t have sold all that test equipment I once had. Luckily it was only 2 and not the others… Needless to say, I’m searching for someone who can do tiny electronics repair work.

For now I guess, and until it gets warm out and I need to build an air conditioned box, we got 1 unit running at 233GH/s and the other – down two modules mining at about 160GH/s

about 400GH/s

Not bad… About 80-100GH/s down from where they should be but until these boards are fixed, I’m lucky the 2nd rig even works!