Make Your Own Mash Paddle

Mash PaddleAfter building a mash tun and running my first batch of beer through it, I realized very quickly that trying to stir the mash with a kitchen spoon is not an easy task. There are many types of paddles available to buy online, but in the spirit of homebrew DIY and not wanting to spend much money, I decided to make my own.

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Converting a Cooler into a Mash Tun

Mash Tun Spout ThumbHere is how I converted a cooler (ice chest) into a mash tun (MLT?). For those of you new to home brewing, a mash tun is used for converting starches in the grain to sugar which later is turned into alcohol by the yeast. You mix the crushed grain (mostly barley) with warm water, hold it at a specific temperature for a while (that’s where the insulated cooler comes in) then drain the liquid (wort) out leaving the grain behind. Then you proceed to boiling the wort while adding hops and other additions (the rest of the brewing process).

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Easy Labels for Homebrew

Beer Labels

Here’s a quick and easy way to label homebrew beer bottles. I take some small printer labels and print the name of the beer on them and stick them to the caps. You could also print other info like bottling date or gravity. I like this method since there is nothing to clean off when you recycle the bottles. You just throw away the label with the cap. It also makes it easier to tell the difference without taking them out of the box.

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How I Unlocked My Cell Phone for Free

Cell_PhoneWhile cleaning up my computer room I ran across an old cell phone that had quit working. It got wet a few years ago on a camping trip when my tent leaked during a rain storm. I tried all the tricks like leaving it in the oven with just the pilot light to help dry it out, but even after a few weeks it still wouldn’t work so I gave up on it. Well, just for fun, I stuck the battery in and it powered right up and said “insert sim card”. I tried plugging in the sim card from my current cell, but since I’ve since changed from T-mobile to AT&T I just got a message about the phone being locked and wanted me to enter an unlock code. So, this started my journey to see if I could unlock it without spending any money.

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Hacker Space in Tulsa, Oklahoma?

I’ve been watching the goings on at the several hacker spaces which are popping up around the world. Specifically NYC Resistor has a lot of interesting activities and the Cow Town Computer Congress is a new space that shows a lot of promise. I was looking for something like that going on in my area but it seems there is none. So, if anyone in the Tulsa area is interested in starting a group like this, please leave a comment here, or send me a message through the contact form.

If you don’t know what a hacker space is, it is a place where people can get together and share ideas and equipment that they may not be able to afford on their own. It is also a place for people to learn from each other and to work on whatever projects they are interested in from electronics to arts and crafts or whatever.

To learn more and maybe find a hacker space in your area, check out this link.

Adding a Second Hard Drive to Knoppmyth

mythtvI switched back to Knoppmyth a couple months ago for my MythTV fix and I’m pretty happy with it except for a few minor glitches I’m still trying to work out. One of those glitches is that sometimes when the backend gets busy the video can become choppy and sometimes even effect the video as it’s written to the disk. This page states that this is caused by I/O problems with the disk and suggests changing the /myth partition from ext3 to the XFS file system using the instructions on this page. Since I have been using the box for a while, it has a lot of recorded and other video on it and their instructions are for a fresh system . I am also nearly out of space on this system so i’m also adding a second hard drive which further complicates matters.

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Podcasts on MythTV

mythtvI love using my MythTV for 3 main reasions:

  1. Timshifting TV
  2. Watching downloaded video
  3. Watching video podcasts

This article is about the 3rd feature, watching video podcasts. I use a script called podget which is run every night by cron to download any new shows and delete shows older than the age I specify. It also creates a playlist for all the new shows it downloades so you don’t have to figure out what’s new and what you’ve already seen.

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