My House Flooded! What do I do? Start Here

This is a series of articles I’m writing based upon my own experience when my home flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Obviously some things will be different depending on your part of the country / world, whether you flooded from a small, local event vs. a large scale event like a hurricane that affected your entire state, etc., but I hope to give you some peace of mind and set you in the right direction.

In the beginning:

The water has finally receded enough for you to get to your house. You open the front door expecting a horror show inside and possibly get a surprise like I did and find that your house doesn’t look much different inside at all. Then you step through the door and are greet by the SLOSH sound your foot makes when it steps on the soaked carpet. Your house has flooded.

Your head swirls with a million thoughts about how much of your stuff is ruined, how much can be saved, how much is it all going to cost, how long will it take to get back to normal, I can’t believe I forgot that precious family heirloom was in the bottom of the closet, it’s ruined! Should I get a carpet cleaning machine or maybe a wet / dry vacuum to save my carpets??

You aren’t going home tonight. You’re not going to be able to go and stay home for a few months. It’s going to take a bit to wrap your head around what’s happened to you. Take a bit of time to let it all sink in, then you need to go into mental battle mode. You don’t have time to mourn or sink into despair. You are now in a race against your neighbors and your entire flooded community and the time to start is RIGHT… NOW.

Open an Insurance Claim

Assuming you have a safe, dry place to sleep for now, the first part of this race is for you to IMMEDIATELY Continue reading ‘My House Flooded! What do I do? Start Here’

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Chamberlain MyQ Light Switch (WSLCEV or 823LM) Install and Review

After recently installing the Chamberlain WD1000WF Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener which is INSANELY quiet and controllable via a smart phone app, I found out about the Chamberlain MYQ Light Switch. It allows you to replace a standard light switch, which you can control via the same smart phone app as a MyQ garage door opener as well as a garage door remote control (standard size or mini keychain size) in addition to using it as a regular rocker type light switch. Lastly, you can also pair it with your garage door opener so that whenever your garage door opener lights turn on or off, the lights controlled by this switch will too!

I bought two of these. The first I installed in my garage and paired with the garage door opener. This switches all of the lights (both the in-ceiling and garage door opener lights) on or off together when either the garage door is opened or closed or when the garage door opener motion detector turns on or off the lights. This allows us to pull our car into a very well lit garage and walk out the door without touching a light switch as the garage door opener automatically turns off the lights after a present amount of time.

Once I realized how handy this switch could be, I remembered that Continue reading ‘Chamberlain MyQ Light Switch (WSLCEV or 823LM) Install and Review’

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Installing A Portable Generator Outlet On Your Home

GeneratorOutlet.jpgHaving a portable generator but only using extension cords to power your home is like having a car with only one seat. It works and gets the job done, but adding more seats or in the case of the generator, adding a receptacle to your home allows you to leverage the full capabilities of your generator and live much more comfortably.

Portable Generators of about 3,000 watts or higher generally have heavy duty power connectors meant for connecting heavy loads beyond a basic extension cable. In the case of my 7,500 watt generator, it has a large four prong outlet that’s meant to connect a 30 amp cable to a receptacle.

I purchased the Reliance Controls PB30 L14-30 30 Amp Generator Inlet Box which matched the connector (L14-30) on my Champion 7,500 Watt with Electric Start  perfectly. These generator outlets are universal and generally go by the number of prongs. Smaller generators will use receptacles with less prongs, bigger generators will have more. It will often say right on the generator outlet what type of connector it uses (L14-30 in my case above).

I spent about $45 on the outlet box itself and paid an electrician Continue reading ‘Installing A Portable Generator Outlet On Your Home’

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How to choose a backup generator for your home

I have always thought about getting a backup generator for my home, but always thought it would be immensely expensive and complicated.

Considering that we don’t lose power very often it seemed like an unnecessary expense. What finally got me motivated was hurricane Irene. My area was heavily affected by the hurricane and we all lost power for days.

Luckily our house was fine and suffered no damage but with a young child, it wasn’t an option to stay home with no power and no refrigerator, air conditioning, etc. for days on end. We ended up staying at a hotel for three days until power was restored. When we got home we had to throw away about $500 worth of food from the fridge and freezer.

Doing the quick math, the hurricane cost us almost a thousand dollars cash simply because we had no power. Factor in the fact that we were uncomfortable away from home and living out of a suitcase. I suddenly realized that if I had spent a bit more than what the cost of the hotel and lost food were on a generator for my home, I’d have been able to stay home and live comfortably and normally waiting for the power to come back on while watching TV and surfing the internet with a glass of iced water on my own couch.

You basically have to look at owning a standby generator like buying insurance. You may feel silly for spending the money on it if you don’t need it for a while, but when you’re suddenly in a bad situation and everyone else is scrambling to find a place to go and watching their food spoil, you are comforted to know you thought ahead. As the Boy Scouts say: Always Be Prepared!

Generator Options

I started my research and quickly found that there are two main options for home backup generators:

Continue reading ‘How to choose a backup generator for your home’

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iPhone: Attach multiple pictures to an email

A great new feature introduced in iOS 5 is the ability to select multiple pictures and email or text them from your phone or ipad.

To do this, tap the Photos app and at the top right corner of the screen you’ll see a square with an arrown in the middle of it pointing to the right. Tap that button and the top of the screen changes to “Select Items”. Now you just tap all of the pictures you want to send and hit the “Share” Button at the bottom of the screen and choose the option you want to share with.

The current choices are “Email, Tweet, Message, and Print”.

Here are some screenshots showing the process: 










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Review of Ipad 2 Keyboard Case

In my hunt for the perfect case for my iPad 2, I came across the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg. I had actually been looking for a case that would ideally protect both the front and back of my iPad 2 but wouldn’t add a lot of bulk to the iPad itself.

I’ve actually had my iPad 2 for over a mont and have just been using the Grantwood sleeve that I was using for my original iPad while looking for the perfect solution for my iPad 2.

As often happens to me, while I was shopping for cases, I came across the Apple bluetooth keyboard that is a perfect companion for the iPad or iPad 2. The only issue with that though is that I’d most likely end up having to buy a separate case for the keyboard AND the iPad whenever I wanted to take it on the road.

Enter the Logitech Keyboard Case. It is in fact a case for the iPad 2. It is also a bluetooth keyboard that has iPad specific function buttons as well. It is also quite slim and is just big enough to do what it needs to. It is also make of aircraft aluminum to be very tough, light, and almost perfectly matches the metal on the back of the ipad.

What sealed the deal for me was that when you Continue reading ‘Review of Ipad 2 Keyboard Case’

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Upgrade To SSD Hard Drive And See Speed!

After reading several articles about the impressive performance gains you can get from SSD drives as well as the fact that they are completely silent and use a fraction of the power of normal drives, I got the itch and had to look into them.

I started thinking I’d get an SSD to put into my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 laptop. That seemed to make the most sense based on lower power use and the silent running and zero vibration.

I started doing my research by looking into the cheaper drives because I’m all about finding the best bang for my buck. My first assumption was that most likely all SSD’s are pretty much alike and there really wouldn’t be much difference.

I was proven wrong. After trolling through dozens of lengthy reviews with specs, the general consensus was that the cheaper drives seemed to have a lot more compatibility problems and often didn’t perform as well in speed tests.

I settled on the Intel 80gb X25-M SATA SSD. I would have loved to have gone for the 160gb version but at around twice as much, I decided I should go conservative since, if it sucked I didn’t want to be out the extra money. The Intel drive seemed to get the most solid reviews and wasn’t dramatically more expensive than the cheaper competition. Everyone seemed to say the same thing, this drive is lightening fast and rock solid.

Once I ordered the drive and was waiting for it to arrive, I kept on reading reviews and more and more started thinking about putting it in my desktop as the system drive instead of my laptop. My desktop was already set up with one drive for Windows 7 and my programs and a second one terabyte drive for my data, so the system drive really didn’t need to be that large. Continue reading ‘Upgrade To SSD Hard Drive And See Speed!’

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Ebay: Get more bids with a good Title

Having upgraded my iPhone from the 3G to the iPhone 4, I decided I’d try to recoup some of my cash by selling the 3G on ebay.

I know a lot of the old tricks and techniques for getting good responses to my auctions like posting a ton of pictures (using my own site to host them for free) and giving a thorough and descriptive summary so that people will feel comfortable that they are getting exactly what I’ve described.

Feeling sure I’d make a descent amount of money, I went ahead and posted my item. One thing that eBay does to try to make things easier for you is they automatically generate an Auction title for you based on keywords you enter for the auction.

In my case, they generated “iPhone 3G 8GB Black ATT”. Sounded pretty accurate for me so I just added “No Reserve” to the end and posted it for a 7 day auction.

I was watching the auction go and noticed that I wasn’t getting very many views or bids. After five days I only had 35 page views and one bid. I decided this was too low and started doing some research on how much similar phones were selling for at auction close and how many bids they were getting.

Ultimately I discovered that Continue reading ‘Ebay: Get more bids with a good Title’

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iPhone: How to display battery percentage remaining

Ever wonder why you have to guess how much juice is left in your battery by looking at the little battery icon on your iPhone. Ever say to yourself “why wouldn’t they just put the battery percent remaining on the iPhone??”

Well, it turns out they did put it there you just need to know where to go to turn it on. It seems that in Apple’s infinite wisdom they decided to leave it turned off by default and bury the setting so deeply, most people would never find it.

Just fire up your iPhone, tap on Settings, General, Usage (yes, Usage?!), and low and behold there is a setting for “Battery Percentage”. Flick that bad boy to “ON” and watch it appear.


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How to install VMware VSphere ESXi 4 on a desktop PC

Trying to figure out how to install VMWare Vsphere ESXi 4.0 on a home desktop computer but now sure how? Neither was I but I finally figured it out and I’ll tell you how!

Over the last year, I’ve been getting very involved in VMware ESX installations and rollouts at work. It started with doing several hundred P2V’s (physical machine to virtual machine conversions) then onto the server side and actually configuring the servers. We started with ESX 3.5 then upgraded to ESXi 4.0 which is now known as VSphere.

I took a couple of VMware training classes and realized that there was a lot of capabilites in VSphere that we weren’t using at my company. Unfortunately, since it was a production environment, tinkering and experimenting on the ESX clusters at the office wasn’t an option. I’m the type of person that when I get into a technology, I want to know as much about it as possible. It also helps to learn as much as possible as it makes you more valuable at work and to potential (higher paying) employers.


My research began to find out what it would take to build a VMware VSphere ESXi 4.0 server at home.

A quick google search showed it was very possible to build a home ESX server, but unlike Windows servers there were very specific hardware requirements. Even tougher, VMware doesn’t list what desktop class hardware you can run it on since they don’t officially support running ESX on desktops. There are a couple of sites out there like Continue reading ‘How to install VMware VSphere ESXi 4 on a desktop PC’

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