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On YouTube: Make a PVC Light Stand for Under $5

February 2nd, 2017 No comments

Noted: Library Extension Finds Books At Your Local Library While You Shop On Amazon via Lifehacker

January 12th, 2017 Comments off

What a great idea? Whenever I recommend books on my blog I usually link to Amazon as it is convenient source of book info and I can make a few pennies if people purchase through those links. That said, I also usually include a reminder that those same books might be available at your local library and highly encourage people to take a look there.

This extension for Chrome integrates that idea right into Amazon book pages. Once you select your local library or libraries, you see an up-to-date count of how many paper and ebooks are available at your library for a given book title. It will even link you directly to the book detail page at the library, ready for you to place a hold and, in my case, have it delivered right to my local library branch. Cool! — Douglas

Noted: Library Extension Finds Books At Your Local Library While You Shop On Amazon via Lifehacker

Read Library Extension Finds Books At Your Local Library While You Shop On Amazon via Lifehacker

Tip: How to Use a Paper Journal Effectively via SnapGuide

July 10th, 2016 Comments off

A friend texted today for a link to this SnapGuide which I did ages ago. He had started to use this technique when he originally saw this guide and wanted to share it with some of his friends. I hadn’t thought about this guide in a long time, but it is great to see that it is still useful to people.

Snapguide journal

Check out How to Use a Paper Journal Effectively by Douglas Welch on Snapguide.

Categories: Business, Education, Lifehacks, Tips Tags:

ParrotRead – Book recommendations pulled from your Twitter feeds

February 11th, 2016 Comments off

parrot-read-web

I came across ParrotRead the other day — I don’t quite remember how — but it has turned out to be a very useful, free, service.

ParrotRead scans your Twitter Timeline and automatically finds and reports on books that appear there with a weekly email.

I wasn’t sure how useful this might be, but over the last several days I have found several books that interested me enough to request them from my local library. It’s always nice to see a site that does something simple and well. I look forward to future recommendations from the site.

Link: ParrotRead: Weekly Book Recommendations from the People You Follow and Respect on Twitter

Categories: Books, Fun, Technology, Tips Tags:

Graduation Gift! – The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book]

February 4th, 2016 Comments off

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop
David Bowers and Sharon Bowers

Available May 17, 2016 – Pre-order Now

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book]

I am always looking for great tips and hints about all aspects of my, whether in print form or online, so when I saw The Useful Book pop up in my list of possible reviews I grabbed it immediately. I was expecting some great ideas within its covers, but it quickly had me thinking more deeply than that.

At 52 years old, I still remember a high school where we all had to take 1 quarter of Home Economics and Shop during our high school career. I was very non-traditional for the mid-1970’s though, finding Home Ec much more enjoyable than shop class, but I still remember being thankful for the exposure to both power tools and the basics of cooking.

As I have raised my own son over the last 17 years, I noticed and bemoaned the lack of instruction in the various “life skills” we all need as we grow older. Gone are lessons in making our own meals, replaced with AP Government and AP Algebra. That’s not to say I don’t think those subjects are important, but, for me, balance is important in all aspects of life. This is why I have made a point of helping my son learn about life in a variety of ways, from how to pay bills each month (and how much it costs for groceries) to cooking, home repairs and all the little things he will need to know as he reaches adulthood.

This is where The Useful Book really struck home for me. My son is about to head off to college and I immediately saw this book as the “Missing Manual” to life on your own. I plan on making sure he has a copy in his boxes whenever he moves out and takes the first steps in his adult life and I would recommend you do the same. Everyone needs a great starter guide to life on their own, and The Useful Book is perfect for that. The Useful Book has “graduation gift” written all over it! (SMILE)

Do you have a Senior about to graduate High School, too? Sure, you can send them a nice, fat, check for a graduation present, but you might want to stash it inside a copy of this book.

The tips and hints in The Useful Book range from cooking, sewing, domestic arts, to repairs and simple building projects to the basics of plumbing and electricity — just about every aspect of adult life They are presented in clear and complete language and enhanced by tons of graphics throughout. The section on Laundry alone is enough to recommend the book. I am sure we all remember that first time of having to wash our own clothes and the sometimes disastrous results. Why not give you child a head start in that department and help prevent a batch of white clothes that suddenly turn blue or pink in the wash.

The book design is great for use as a research book when you REALLY need some information, but can also be scanned or read as its own personal Home Economics and Shop class — for those who never experienced it. I plan on keeping my own copy around the house, too. You never know when you might need a reminder of how to “Remove Gum From A Rug” or “How to Patch a Hole in a Wall.”

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book] Useful book 2

Click for larger images

I liken The Useful Book to another very useful book I was given as a wedding gift — and one I would also recommend for any young adult starting out — The Joy of Cooking,

Sure, the recipes and techniques in JOC aren’t exactly gourmet or cutting edge, but when I have needed a reminder of how to best cook polenta or make a basic cake from scratch, it was always where I turned first. Your kids aren’t going to want (or be too embarrassed) to call you when little problems pop up in their lives, so why not give them a useful and comfortable life reference they can use to solve their most basic problems. 

Parenting is all about education and The Useful Book is an educational gift that keeps on giving, long after your children leave the nest and start building lives of their own. Like many parental lessons, your kids might find a gift of The Useful Book a bit embarrassing at first, but I can guarantee you they will refer to it again and again — and be extremely grateful for your gift — for a long time to come.

David Bowers is a woodworker, painter, author of Bake Like a Man: A Real Man’s Cookbook, and stay-at-home dad.

Sharon Bowers contributes to iVillage and Parents magazine, and is the author of Ghoulish Goodies, Candy Construction, and The Idiot’s Guide to Cooking Chicken.

Highly Recommended

California Wildfire Information 2015 – A collection of resources for the 2015 fire season and beyond

September 14th, 2015 Comments off

(All links confirmed as working – September 14, 2015)

As is common, we are in a drought again, here in California, and this makes the occurrence of wildfire more likely and also increases the damage that wildfires can do in the landscape and in populated areas. In an effort to stay in touch with the wildfire situation here in California, I have collected a set of resources to keep me informed when fires break out. While I live in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and fairly free from the direct danger of wildfire, fires in the surrounding areas can cause large problems with evacuations, smoke plumes and ash and also directly effect friends and family who live in or near wild lands.


 Cal fire banner

CAL FIRE is a State agency responsible for protecting natural resources from fire on land designated by the State Board of Forestry as State Responsibility Area (SRA). CAL FIRE also manages the State Forest system and has responsibility to enforce the forest practice regulations, which govern forestry practices on private and other non-federal lands. Two major themes are attendant to the CAL FIRE mission. One is the protection of the State’s merchantable timber on all non-federal lands from improper logging activities and the other is the protection of the State’s grass, brush, and tree covered watersheds in SRA from wildland fire. CAL FIRE is a “conservation agency” with origins stemming from the “Conservation Movement” of the last century.”

Cal Fire provides a number of online resources:

Cal Fire Incident Google Map with perimeters


Inciweb Wildfire Information

“InciWeb is an interagency all-risk incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions:

Provide the public a single source of incident related information
Provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community
A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information regarding active incidents is consistent, and the delivery is timely.”

InciWeb Resources:


Enplan wildfire viewer

Enplan Wildfire Viewer

“ENPLAN provides environmental planning and geospatial information services and products to both public and private sectors. We have served over 500 clients since we began in 1980. Throughout our existence, we have remained absolutely committed to leading-edge quality and innovation in the solutions we deliver.”

Enplan Wildfire Viewer Resources:


ESRI Integrated Fire Information Map

ESRI Integrated Fire Information Map

Resources include:

  • Fire Locations
  • Filtered Tweets 
  • Wildfire Perimeters
  • Fire-Related Weather Watches and Warnings

Spur of the Moment Periscope Live Stream from A Gardener’s Notebook (23 mins) [Video]

August 11th, 2015 Comments off

Photo: Career & Life #career #advice #tip via Instagram

July 23rd, 2015 Comments off

Noted: Breaking Down the Creative Process via Digital Photography School

November 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Breaking Down the Creative Process via Digital Photography School

Breaking Down the Creative Process via Digital Photography School

A Post By: Jeff Guyer

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the creative process. When we talk about “creativity,” people generally end up putting themselves into one of two categories– creative or not creative. I’m always amused– and a bit leery– when people who consider themselves creative say that they have no creative process. That ideas “just come” to them. I’m not buying it. I can’t help but ask if ideas really do just come to them, or have they refined and streamlined their process to the point that they don’t even recognize it as a process? And if there really is a process, can someone who thinks they aren’t creative follow a series of steps that can help them become creative? The truth is, everyone has creative potential.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

Categories: Art-Architecture, Shared Items, Tips Tags:

Noted: Beginner’s Guide to Tripods via Digital Photography School

September 27th, 2014 Comments off

Beginner’s Guide to Tripods via Digital Photography School

Beginner’s Guide to Tripods via DIgital Photography School

The lowly tripod – the unsung hero behind so many fantastic shots – finally gets its day in the spotlight here on dPS.

Do you want to photograph the stars? You’ll need a tripod. Want to get silky smooth waterfall photos? Yep tripod again. Need to photograph an HDR to extend the dynamic range of your scene? Oh yes, tripod required there too.

Basically, if you want to do anything more than point and shoot, you’ll need to bring your three legged friend along with you.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

Categories: Photos-Photography, Shared Items, Tips Tags:
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