Last Saturday our mailbox was taken out by a snow plow! This was a job for something besides duct tape (although that did cross my mind).
I ran down to the hardware store but couldn’t find a support arm that would fit the post. I couldn’t find any mailbox support arms. Actually I’m not good at finding things in the stores. Kris used to send me to the grocery store. But after wondering around every aisle I’d return home with the bad news that the grocery store doesn’t carry whatever it was she was looking for. Kris doesn’t send me to the store very often now days. Anyway, I couldn’t find mailbox parts. But I did find hinges and a container of bungee cords! Perfect. If I’m going to have to rebuild it myself I may as well build it to survive a snow plow hit.
Impact Drill, Drill/Driver, and bits
Deck screws and 2×4 left over from the Tree House.
DIY Snow Plow Proof Mailbox
The first step for any project is to draw up a detailed plan on a paper napkin. But if you don’t have a napkin the side of a cardboard box in the garage will do in a pinch.
I cut and mounted two small 2×4 pieces to the bottom of the mailbox (this wasn’t exactly part of my sketch but sometimes you have to improvise).
Next I made a few more cuts to build a triangle mounting arm. Attached everything with deck screws.
Drilled some holes through the steel post to mount the hinges on.
Added a partially drilled screw on the right-side of the arm to hook the bungee cords.
Now when the snow plow hits our mailbox it will swing on the hinges and the bungee cords will pull it back into position. It’s fault tolerant!
It may not be the prettiest design since I threw it together at the last minute, but as someone who isn’t much of a handyman I’m proud of it. At least it will get us through winter.
So, you’re building your first PC, or perhaps even your second. You’ve done your research on all the fancy upgrades, all the new toys. Everything is plugged into your build on pcpartpicker.com. Finally, your ultimate gaming machine is coming together. The price is a little more than you wanted to spend, but hey, those GeForce RTX 2080’s just aren’t dropping in price like you hoped. You have your RAM, video card, power supply, the fan that lights up, and most importantly your Intel processor. The whole reason for the new build. You hear Captain Kirk from Star Trek in the back of your head, Scotty, we need MORE SPEED! Now the part you are dreading is looming ahead. The one component that no matter how much research you did, you felt like you were just being tossed in circles like a rookie. Instead of descriptions, all you see are fancy names like Maximus Hero, ProX, Aorus Ultra, Phantom Gaming, Pro Carbon and many more. You call up your friend Ben. “Ben, I need help! What motherboard should I buy”. In horror you hear the words you’ve dreaded… Ben: “I don’t have time to build PC’s anymore, so I don’t know”. The world is crashing down and your perfect build is fading away. In terror, you look at what models your chip is compatible to. They range from $70 to $500! Which one do I buy? Will Scotty from engineering want the $500 one or is that expensive motherboard like a gold-plated HDMI cable; Nice looking, but an utter waste of money. You need help. You need guidance. You need someone to tell you it’s going to be ok. You need a Motherboard!
Where to Start…
So, where do you
start. Let’s start with the basics. What Motherboard will actually
work with my chip? Square peg in a square hole and a round peg in a
round hole. Easy question, right? I wish…
At this point, you
should at least know what Intel processor chip you are going to buy.
Don’t know yet? Well, fine, I’ll do a post on that one too, but
later. This is about the dreaded motherboard (mobo for short). I am
going to focus my guide to only the last three generations of Intel
The “I don’t
have a lot of money right now” Generation. AKA 7th Generation Core
The “I’m all
about getting the best speed for the best value” Generation. AKA
8th Generation Core
The “I’m blowing
my life savings on this build” Generation. AKA 9th Generation Core
Confused which generation your chip is? Don’t be confused by the names they use. Intel loves names and code names, problem is they use names that are too similar to each other and they don’t always work. Don’t get me started with code names.
9th generation Core = Coffee Lake Refresh
8th generation Core = Coffee Lake/Kaby Lake Refresh/Whiskey Lake
7th generation Core = Kaby Lake/Skylake/Apollo Lake
See what I mean? Super lame Intel. If you’re going for cool code names, don’t end them all with Lake..
Here is an easier way… Ignore the Code names completely. Just use the number system.
I9-9900K, I5-9400F, etc. are all I#-9000s, 9 being the 9th generation
I7-8700, I3-8100, etc. are all the I#-8000s, 8 being the 8th generation
I9-7980XE, I7-7700, etc. are all the I#-7000s, 7 being the 7th generation
A MOMENT OF REFLECTION – For real, ignore the code names. They will get you in trouble. It’s easy to switch a Coffee Lake for a Kaby Lake. If you like Code Names, stick with the board game Codenames!
So which generation
is your Chip? Ah good. The 8th generation. Well played. Ok
ok, if it’s not 8th, your still ok in my book.
Your generation will also tell you which socket to get. Luckily this one is pretty easy. They named it
two VERY distinctive sockets. 1151 Rev 1 and 1151 Rev 2… Errr umm… Come on Intel…Strike two.
Don’t worry, I still got you.
1151 Rev 1 – That’s your 100 and 200 Series – Wait, what’s a series? Once again, ignore it. Just know that 7th Gen and older is Series 100 and 200. But watch out. Skylake (7th gen) is series 200 while Kaby Lake (7th gen) is Series 100 with bios update… In fact… What are we doing?!? I’m not going down this rabbit hole. Just spend the money, buy a 8th or 9th gen chip and boom, series 300. For real. Get away from 7th gen. Your computer is worth more then a 7th gen chip.
1151 Rev 2 –
That’s your 300 series – Translated into simple speak, your 8th and 9th generation chips
Once again, thanks
Intel for making my life harder.
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER NOTE – Yes, there are some chips in these generation that use the LGA 2066 socket. Do me a favor and pick a new processor chip if thats the case. If your spending 2k on a chip, you shouldn’t be taking my advice.
What you should know
For example: If you’re going for the I7-8700k, then you know it’s an 8th generation, 300 series, 1151 Rev 2 Socket. Perfect. See how generation tells you other two items?
Now we can finally figure out the Chipset. What’s a chipset? To way oversimplify things… It’s the motherboard configuration to accept your processor chip. When you are shopping for motherboards, the one thing in common you see after all the names is a series of letters and numbers. For example, you will see codes like Z390, B365, H310, Q370, B150, H170, Etc. etc. etc. These are your Chipsets. This is your first real step in narrowing down your motherboard.
MOMENT OF CAUTION: Be careful when you see a motherboard listed as 1151, or 8th generation motherboard. These aren’t always accurate depending on your processor that you choose. For example, it may say 1151 socket but not tell you if it’s Rev 1 or Rev 2. Stick to your Chipset Code. Decide that first.
So, this part is
easy; with generation, series and socket, you get exactly one
Chipset. Wait… what? No? Arrgggg. Ben why did you forsake me?
Luckily, we can at
least easily identify which chipset goes to which series of chips.
Chipsets are always
numbered the same as their series number. Well not exactly, but you
will see what I mean.
A series 300 chip goes in a H310 or a B360 or a Z390… Letter3XX
A series 200 chip goes in a B250 or Q270 or Z270… Letter2XX
A series 100 chip goes in a B150 or Q150 or Z170… Letter1XX
ANOTHER PITFALL – Once again, some 7th gen chips need bios updates to work with their correct series. For real, just stick with 8th or 9th so I can stop warning you about it.
– From here on out
we will assume you got smart and are going with an 8th or
9th gen Chip.
So that narrows down
the Intel Chipsets to the following:
B360, Z370, Z390, H310, H370,
CAUTION LAVA PIT – Be careful, B365 doesn’t follow the rule. It’s actually series 200 for some strange dumb reason. Strike three intel. Strike three.
Which Series 300 Chipset?
So, we have five chipsets to narrow down. You can see the full comparison at Intel’s website.
For the sake of
speed, which is what I am assuming that you want, let’s cut that
down to four. Goodbye H310. It’s a budget chipset, not for building
a gaming machine or pro workstation. For the sake of a dedicated
video card (for gaming or for multiple monitors at your workstation),
goodbye B360 as well.
So now that we are
down to three, here is the breakdown. I’m leaving price out of it
at first because at this point, you need what you need and want what
H370 – No Overclocking – USB 3.1
Z370 – Overclocking – Multiple GPUs – No USB 3.1
Z390 – Overclocking – Multiple GPUs – USB 3.1
My thoughts on these options:
Overclocking – With the speed of chips now a days, overclocking is, in my opinion, unnecessary. Just remember if you want to overclock, your chip needs to be unlocked K-series (Example I7-8700K)
USB 3.1 – At twice
the speed, it sure makes file transfers faster. If you don’t plan
to transfer a lot of files though, may not matter. In fact, most
systems won’t even take advantage of the full 10Gbps anyway. It
will probably be more important in a few more years, but not yet.
Multiple GPUs – Not needed if you get a good single GPU like a sweet 2080 RTX
H370 is your non-gaming, power workstation mobo. Z370 is your gaming
Mobo. Z390 is your upgraded gaming Mobo.
Price wise: H370 cheapest, Z370 Middle, Z390 High
STEP-OFF-A-CLIFF CAUTION – All three support integrated Wi-Fi, but very few Z370 motherboards actually have it.
Now that we have
narrowed it down to three types of motherboards, we can now open up
Amazon or Newegg and
actually go search for some mobos. Let’s try Newegg. Open up
Newegg. Let’s see what happens when we type in Z390 boards… Yea,
that’s too many results… However, we can use Newegg search to
narrow down more of what we want.
Let’s go through
some Specs under the Intel Motherboards.
CPU Socket Type –
Hey you learned about this. Let’s stick with the LGA 1151 (300
Series) ← How nice of Newegg to tell us which Series. Cool, we are
down to 999+ boards.
Form Factor – This is the size of your motherboard. Simply put, the size motherboard you want is dependent on the size of case you want to build. If you are reading this guide, it probably means that you’re a part time builder, not a hardcore enthusiast who’s going to build a custom $15k walking death machine. So let’s stick with the ATX.
Stick with the name brands. ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock. No use
blowing up your computer with a no name brand.
Chipset – Hey you
know this one too.
Select either your H370, Z370 or Z390. If you pick Z390 we are now
down to about 500 boards.
Condition – New, never buy used. Like my ole pappy use to say. Used is just a useful way to inherit someone else’s problems.
Here on out, we are
going to be talking about things that exceed this guide’s purpose.
It’s items like… What do you want in a build? There are no wrong
answers after this. Your board will work with the chip you have. Just
depends on how you want it to work.
M.2 – Do you want
1, 2 or 3 available slots? (I think two is fine) but I would leave
unchecked to see your options. Ultra vs normal? Blah marketing ploy.
Price – You need
what you need and want what you want.
Number of Memory
Slots – Always 4 in my book, even though I’ve only ever used two
slots. Don’t ask…
Support – Doesn’t matter. Leave blank. We just need 16 GB right now
Chipset, HDMI, PS/2, DisplayPort – These options don’t matter.
Your video card will take care of this stuff.
SATA – Always try
to get at least six. Your M.2 will eat up some of these lanes and you
want plenty of room to run that raid. As for speed, 6GB/s is standard
Lan Speed –
10/100/1000 is fine, nothing really supports /2500 yet. Leave blank.
PCI Express –
Doesn’t matter, by time you hit this point, the boards we have
listed will have enough slots. Especially if you are going for just
one video card and onboard wireless
USB – Up to you but
will affect price. I would leave options unchecked and see where the
dice land on these… Unless for some crazy reason you are set on 8
USB 3.1 ports. Then power to you player.
Wireless – I would
say yes on this one, but it’s a personal preference. If you have
access to a hard line, then you may not want to spend the extra
dough. However, it’s always nice to have backup in case dog chews
up your Cat6 cable.
Audio – Personal
preference. I like my headphones, so I don’t wake up the kids, so I
hardly ever pay attention here.
No other options
Hopefully at this
point you are down to about a dozen or so boards. Most differences at
this point between the boards are dependent on the items above.
For example, you may see 6 boards that have Wi-Fi and 6 that don’t. It’s up to you to choose at this point. Any and all of them will work with that chip you have. Let’s look at some final selection points to hopefully narrow down your choice. After all, there still may be a difference of $100.00 or so dollars between these motherboards.
– Pitfalls and Price
Motherboard Names: Whatever you do, all we care about is the specs. Don’t let fancy names like “Phantom”, “Maximum”, or especially “Gaming” pull you in any one direction. The only thing that “Gaming” name does for a motherboard is add to the cost. Don’t get suckered by the title “Gaming”. It’s the same as gold plated HDMI cables. Fancy sounding, utterly useless. Once again, ignore the name, check the specs.
Letters or Numbers
after Chipset: Let’s say you see a name like Z390-E or Z390-A.
These letters are the manufactures designation, not Chipset
identifier. For example. Z390-A from manufacturer X may be the non
Wi-Fi model, while the Z390-B from manufacturer X may be the Wi-Fi
model. Once again, think of these like names, ignore and pay
attention to the specs.
Unique Features to the Motherboards, AKA Fluff to sell motherboards for more than they are worth: You will see each company try to sell their motherboards for more money than they are worth by selling you Unique Features. I have learned a unique feature is a distant second to an easy bios to navigate (Navigating Bios, perhaps another time). Time to make fun of some motherboards.
ASRock – Super Alloy. This motherboard won’t be stopping bullets. Don’t care.
MSI – Audio Boost.
To blow your ears away… literally…? Don’t care.
ASUS – SafeSlot Core
fortified PCIe slots… Just in case your video cards decide to
party… Don’t care
DualBIOS.. When one bios is for babies… Don’t care
There are tons and
tons of other useless unique features. My recommendation. Skip this
section. For the most part it’s all gimmicks.
DON’T STEP IN LAVA EXAMPLE: Example of up-selling unique features. I don’t want to diss any particular motherboard too much, but you will find a $150 motherboard vs a $250 motherboard. The only difference? Well get this. $150 motherboard has better specs, but nothing listed under unique features. The $250 motherboard, has lesser specs, is named “gaming” and has about 20 unique features, none of which will increase gaming performance. No brainer; get the better $150 motherboard . Spending more money does not equal better motherboard .
FINAL TEST –
And no, I’m not recommending this motherboard. You recommend your own motherboard.
ASUS ROG Strix
Z390-F Gaming LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB
3.1 ATX Intel Motherboard – Identify!
ASUSROG Strix Z390-F GamingLGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1ATXIntel Motherboard
Generation – 8th or 9th
Socket – LGA 1151 (v2 since we know the Series)
Series – 300
Chipset – Intel Z390
Size – ATX
Brand – ASUS
That’s all we know from this title from this motherboard. I crossed out the completely useless info you should be ignoring to know if this motherboard will work with your 8th or 9th gen Intel Chip.
You now know everything you need to know. If you didn’t learn it here, it’s more than likely not important. Go out, get an awesome motherboard between $100 and $200 and build your baby. Only thing I ask is that you follow the golden rule of building. You always, always NAME a computer you build yourself. It’s the rule. (Just like my latest child, Echo, His older brother Titan and the grandparents Beast and Big Birtha) Happy building!
In His Service,
PS. For those like Ben, who are too busy running awesome websites and don’t have time to research what motherboard they want. Here are two randomly chosen motherboard that will work just fine.
I’m writing a book! I started around July and figured it would take between 6 and 12 months to complete. Turns out I made pretty good progress and will likely be finished in January or February. I plan to self-publish and sell it right here on b3n.org.
The book is called LastPass Guide (although I’m testing other titles), it is a step-by-step guide to teach people how to use the LastPass Password Manager. I’ve helped many people with LastPass and I know where most get tripped up–I often wish there was a guide I could point people at and I finally decided to write one.
It is simple enough a non-technical person could pick it up and not only become proficient in using LastPass; but also have a good foundation of security best practices by the end. The book also covers security essentials: many that I’ve seen cyber-security experts overlook. I’ve had a few tech professionals review the book and tell me they’re changing their security practices as a result.
If you’re interested in getting updates on the progress feel free to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll also get a sample download from the book.
Book Progress and What’s Left
The truth is I’ve never self-published, or published anything other than this blog so I’m learning as I go. My to-do list is very different now than it was at the start. I’m also getting a lot of help and advice from books about self-publishing, and getting help from family and friends. I’ve even had Eli proof reading for me.
Progress (so far):
[x] Read several books about writing books
[x] Decide to sell on Amazon or Self-Publish (decided to self publish).
[x] Write a first draft
[x] Send a draft to my editors (family and friends) for feedback
[x] Decide whether to get a new domain for the book or sell it on b3n.org (decided to sell it on b3n.org).
[x] Pick a working title (“LastPass Guide”)
[x] Inform LastPass’s marketing/legal team to make sure there won’t be an issue (just gotten crickets so far)
[ ] Pick an eCommerce platform (leaning towards Gumroad or WooCommerce)
[x] Review notes / advice from reviewers
[ ] Second round of review / edits
[ ] Run Google Ads A/B testing to test different titles (just started this yesterday).
[ ] Determine Final Title
[ ] Final Book Cover Design
[ ] Third and “final” review / edits
[ ] Photos
[ ] Get testimonials (in progress)
[ ] Setup eCommerce platform
[ ] Build Better Landing Page
[ ] Figure out how to use Facebook and Twitter to announce the launch, if I use those at all. May skip this since I’m not a huge fan of Facebook.
[ ] Setup a discount and run some tests orders through to catch any issues
[ ] Pre-Launch to email subscribers with Discount
[ ] Remove Discount and Launch
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the book be released?
I’m targeting to release end of January or early February 2020.
Why didn’t you choose KeePass, Bitwarden, 1Password, [insert your favorite password manager here]?
LastPass is in a fairly unique position in that it is ubiquitous, fully featured, very well audited and monitored by security firms, has reasonably priced plans and security measures that make it acceptable for individuals, families, small businesses, and enterprises. Some reviewers have asked why I didn’t base the guide on KeePass. While KeePass may be more secure since it is offline, KeePass is missing four key features most people will want: A Dead Man’s Switch, Automatic Sync, Easy Browser Integration, and Sharing.
Can I get a discount?
During pre-launch we will have early release pricing for a few days before it is released to the masses… the exchange for the discount is I want you to be watching for problems in the ordering process and let me know if there’s an issue.
Are you planning to do coupon codes or future promotions?
No. While I am trying to learn some marketing strategies, I’m very much against marketing tactics designed to pressure people into buying before they’ve had a chance to think about it. Other than the initial launch I don’t see doing time-based promotions. I don’t ever want someone to buy a book at full price and then find out it’s on sale at half that price a day later.
Will there be an affiliate program?
Not at launch due to time constraints, but if there is interest I can set it up post-launch. Probably at 50/50 revenue sharing. Shoot me an email if you’re interested.
Why Aren’t You Selling This on Amazon?
A couple of reasons: 1. I want buyers of the book to be my customers. When you sell on Amazon, buyers are not your customers. This is the main reason I chose to self-publish. 2. This book includes a lot of screenshots and graphics and Kindles are just awful at rendering those. How many times have you seen poor reviews on a great book because of the Kindle formatting issues? This book is much better as a PDF format where I have control of the formatting and design. This is not to say I’m not a fan of Kindles, this just isn’t the best book for it.
Will it just be an eBook or are you going to sell a paper version?
Just an eBook. That’s the best format for three reasons: 1. The thing with technology is things can change so I’d rather be able to send out updates as needed which you can’t do with a physical copy. 2. I’m not setup to do fulfillment. I’d have to charge something like $200 a book to make it worth the effort. 3. It’s easier to fix typos and mistakes with eBooks.
Aren’t you going to blog about some cool tech stuff soon?
Yes, several posts are in the works, including my first guest post.
What computer did you write this on?
Dell Latitude E5450.
Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have a progress update in January.
But my problem is I hardly had time to maintain the technology stack. A few weeks ago I was in the process of adding a couple of WordPress sites. This isn’t difficult, but it’s tedious. You have to create user accounts, modify NGINX site files, setup SSL Cert Automation, configure Varnish and Redis for caching, install WordPress itself and set all that up for security, auto-updates, caching, etc. Then a year from now I’m going to have to migrate everything to a new host when Ubuntu 16.04 goes EOL (End of Life) for security updates. As I was working on this I thought to myself… What am I doing!?
Before: On DigitalOcean I spent a lot of research and testing and setup plus several hours a month maintaining the OS, technology stack, security updates, and performance tuning necessary to run WordPress.
After: Now I host WordPress on Cloudways and they take care of it for me. When I want a new WordPress instance or to make a change I push a button on a web interface. Done.
What did that time savings cost me? It cost me dearly. My monthly hosting went from $5 to $10.
Before finding Cloudways I had a bit of a journey. I started by looking into hosting options… and decided I wanted managed hosting. This is mostly because I feel like I’ve done a much better job at tuning WordPress than shared hosting providers I’ve used in the past.
Managed Hosting vs. Shared Hosting
Managed hosting typically differs from shared hosting in the service level they offer. I say typically because many managed hosting providers fall short, and many shared hosting providers excel in these areas. But in general Managed Hosting providers are better at:
Multiple environments (Dev/Stage/Prod) and migration between them
Caching and CDN
Guaranteed or dedicated resources (cpu, memory, I/O, bandwidth)
Better control of when core components get upgraded (PHP, MySQL, MariaDB, etc.). This is useful because if you want to take advantage of the latest version of PHP like 7.3 you can, but if you have a plugin that isn’t compatible you can stay on an older version.
Managed Hosting Options
I had my shortlist. SiteGround, Bluehost, WPEngine, etc. Note that I am not looking at the cheaper shared hosting, but at their managed hosting plans.
All looked like they’d be great but what irked me is they want you to pre-pay for several years in advance to get the advertised price. I am used to hourly billing with DigitalOcean. The thing with technology is things change fast so I want flexibility. I don’t ever want to be locked into a situation where I’ve prepaid 2 years of hosting.
The other concern is the affordable plans had monthly visitor limits, bandwidth limits, or number of WordPress install limits. Most were under what b3n.org needs which would push me into the $100+ plans. Maybe my DigitalOcean droplet isn’t so bad after all!
So back to Google searching… I came across Cloudways. What’s the best way I can describe Cloudways? The DigitalOcean of WordPress.
What Separates Cloudways
What makes Cloudways unique is when you deploy WordPress, you’re not just getting a managed WordPress Application. You’re getting your own Cloud Server and you can install as many WordPress instances under it at no additional cost. So the hierarchy is:
WordPress site 1
WordPress site 2
If you run out of capacity you can scale horizontally (deploy more servers) or vertically (more cores, memory, and ssd space).
Cloudways doesn’t have their own infrastructure. Rather they partner with DigitalOcean, AWS, Google Cloud, Linode, and Vultr so you pick the underlying cloud vendor. So when you deploy a server on Cloudways you’re actually getting a managed cloud server.
Features I like from Cloudways
You can choose your desired cloud provider based on your needs.
Price is affordable ($10/month for a small DO droplet)
Per hour billing (no pre-paying years in advance).
Unlimited sites and WP instances, you can scale up as needed.
Choose any location you want
WordPress migration (mine migrated over flawlessly) from your old server
24/7 Support … now when my server has trouble I don’t have to call myself.
Linux, Apache, NGINX, SSL Cert automation, Varnish, redis, security updates and all of that stuff I used to maintain myself is now taken care of for me! |:-)
Monitoring and Auto-healing can correct problems proactively.
There are a lot of checks for best practices and server health. I temporarily disabled the Breeze cache plugin and got an email the next day telling me it was still disabled. Similarly there are checks for load and performance.
You can choose which version of PHP and MariaDB to run on.
And now when Ubuntu 16.04 LTS goes EOL…. I don’t care!
It’s not limited to WordPress so Drupal and other PHP applications are supported as well.
Where Cloudways Could do Better
I’m a bit unclear what what happens when the server I deployed goes EOL for security updates. I can’t imagine they would upgrade it autonomously since that would be risky. I’m guessing it would fail a health check and I’d get a notification to upgrade? It’s something I’ll have to keep an eye on, but it could be made clearer. If the solution for this is to deploy a new server and move your WordPress Instance over to a new server that can be done with a few clicks from the web interface.
The Cloudways interface is not snappy. It can take a few seconds to bring up monitoring metrics.
Where are floating IPs?! With DigitalOcean I can get a floating IP that I can assign to one droplet and then reassign it to another droplet. With Cloudways it looks like moving to another server would require DNS changes.
In the the chart below I have:
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
SaaS (Software as a Service)
Cloudways would fall in PaaS. They manage everything that WordPress runs on (PHP, MariaDB, Varnish, Apache, NGINX, etc.). Although they step in the SaaS world a bit since they will automatically deploy optimized WordPress instances for you with things like caching pre-configured, but for the most part you’re still managing WordPress yourself.
All in all Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting seems to be a decent offering. One side benefit is they’re just better at performance tuning than I am. On DigitalOcean where I was maintaining the platform myself b3n.org was able to handle a sustained load test of 150 clients per second, on Cloudways it handles over 1000 clients per second.
I’m not sure exactly how it started, it might have been when Eli and I were trying in vain to find Lego Technic sets with lots of gears, or when Kris was discussing with me purchasing learning aids for school. … and I started to realize we could 3D print this stuff!
Just with the things we buy for school each year a 3D printer will pay for itself in 2 years.
What is 3D Printing?
3D Printing is also known as Additive Manufacturing (AM). This means instead of injecting molding, items are created by printing layers on top of layers. Now injecting molding is fine for mass production, but for small quantities it doesn’t make since because molds aren’t cheap to make. For 3D printing a variety of methods and materials can be used. I use PLA (Polylactic acid), the plastic is fed to the printer and heated to the point of melting. It then comes out a nozzle where it is cooled and solidifies. The nozzle is controlled by X, Y, and Z axis stepper or servo motors allowing the nozzle to be positioned anywhere in the print area.
Of course, I know very little about 3D printing so I turned to my coworker, Brad, who has designed and printed out prototype aircraft components and has actually flown them. I asked him for the best quality budget 3D printer. He has a few of the larger fancier Creality printers and told me the next one he would likely buy for himself for smaller prints was a little Creality Ender 3 Pro. One thing I’ve learned: if the expert is willing to buy something for himself, that’s what you want.
The Ender 3 Pro comes with all the tools needed for someone new to 3D printing. Allen keys, wrench, screwdriver, pliers, SD card and USB adapter, nozzle cleaner needle, blade, etc. The Pro version adds a few features that I think make it worth the extra cost of the normal Ender 3: It is a bit more sturdy, has a better (quieter) PSU, can resume printing after a power failure, and has a magnetic flexible print bed which eliminates the need for glue or hairspray to get prints to stick. The 3D prints adhere very well during printing and peels right off when done. I hardly ever need to print with rafts or support structures. I don’t even print a brim.
It arrived noon on Friday, Eli couldn’t wait so he and Kris mostly had it together before I got home. We finished the assembly, I didn’t level the bed or anything, I popped in the SD card that came with the machine, selected the cat model that was already on the card, and it started printing, and printing, and printing…. okay, so it took a long time. So we all all went to bed.
Next morning I woke up to hearing, “It finished!” We had a cat! Which Eli promptly painted. …here’s our first print:
Not bad for a first try.
For our second print we decided to print something simple like the Eiffel tower. I found one on ThingiVerse and opened it up in the Creality Slicer (a slicer is a program that converts 3D models into a gcode file that the printer understands) that came with the printer. It took me 3 tries.
Our first attempt ran for an hour or two then one of the 4 legs fell over. I tried it again with a raft but it still fell! Then I made huge rafts and a support structure and it worked! But the print came out stringy. I was using Creality Slicer since it came with the printer. Then I remembered Brad told me to try Cura. So I downloaded that… and it was a night and day difference (even though Creality Slicer is based on Cura). I told Cura what printer I had and it had pre-loaded sane defaults for everything from print speeds to head extraction. Now that I’m printing with Cura, I don’t need support structures, and no stringing. I’m guessing most of the difference was in the default profiles.
What does a 3D print workflow look like?
1. Go to Thingiverse and search for a 3D object. Thingiverse is a huge library of 1,500,000 3D printable models. I’ve found everything from Craftsman versatrack compatible bike hangers to spare parts for my car. Download the STL file (this is essentially a CAD file).
2. Open the STL file with Cura (free open source) which is a slicer to convert the object into instructions the 3D printer can understand. Cura has well tuned default profiles for the Ender 3. The instructions will output into a .gcode file. I popped one open and it is a text file with line by line instructions for the printer to go to these x y z coordinates at these speeds at this temperature, etc. Essentially you copy this to an SD card, insert it into the printer, and print the object.
3. The printer will pre-heat the bed and PLA, then start printing. I would say we have a success 9 out of 10 times. Sometimes I won’t have the bed quite level or the temperature won’t be right for the specific PLA brand/color I’m using (even different colors print at different temperatures). But you can save those color profiles in Cura so once you have it dialed in it should work going forward. Generally if the first layer succeeds the print will be a success.
4. When done, let it cool for 30 seconds, bend the magnetic bed and the print peels off.
Can you Design and Print Your Own 3D Models? Yes!
Just about everyone has asked me this question. You can.
Tinkercad (by Autodesk) is a free web CAD designer that makes it simple to design 3D objects. The very first thing Eli designed in Tinkercad was a set of gears.
Stepper Motor Noise
Okay, so one issue I had with the Ender 3 Pro is the noise the servo motors make. The best way I can explain it is the printer sounds like R2D2 and C3PO are arm wrestling and you hear it throughout the entire house. I ended up swapping out the control board for one with silent stepper drivers. Once I did that, the only noise you hear is the fans. Much better. We have it near the kitchen and I’d say it isn’t silent. The fan is noisier than a typical computer fan but not nearly as loud as the dishwasher.
In Cura, you can choose from a number of Infill Patterns. Each has their advantage. Some are designed to be stronger, print faster, save on material. One of the huge advantages 3D printing has is you can pick a pattern and density to provide the strength needed for a particular use. This greatly reduces the amount of plastic needed to fill in a part. Here are the infill patterns in Cura:
Left to right the infill patterns are:
I usually use lines for quick prints. If I have a larger shape that needs to bear stress in multiple directions I’ll either use Gyroid (which is a 3D pattern found in creation) and or Cubic-Subdivision which will use more density around the perimeter and less in the middle (like bones).
One thing I’d say about 3D printing is at my budget it is not quite there when it comes to easy of use. There was nothing me, Kris, and Eli couldn’t figure out and get working, but it look us a bit of time to get the bed leveled and temperature settings dialed in. If you want something that is closer to “hit print and it just works” then you may want to pay a little more and get a Prusa Mini. It has auto-bed leveling and a network interface which makes it much more user-friendly. But you will pay quite a bit more for those features.
3D printing is the future. In the home it is going to replace the need to run to the store to get something small, and allow for 3D printing small parts to repair items instead of tossing them. Just like printers moved from businesses to homes, so will the ability to manufacture small plastic items. 3D Printing isn’t instant, but it’s already faster than Amazon Prime. And if it saves me from having to make a trip to Spokane to find some part it’s worth it.
For manufacturing, it greatly reduces the tooling costs. Injection molding will still be used for items produced in mass. But 3D printing lowers the tooling costs for smaller runs and one-off items. Not to mention the agility: a factory of general purpose 3D printers can instantly start printing something else to instantly meet new demands and market changes.
Next May will be the 40th Anniversary of the Mount St. Helens Eruption which occurred on May 18th, 1980. At the time geologists knew very little about volcanoes or the possibility of a lateral blast… it killed 57 people, most in areas outside the restricted zone. It is the most devastating eruption to occur in U.S. History. There have been many volcanic eruptions, but this one happened in an area near modern western civilization so it was well studied and documented.
We got to meet Paul Taylor over at the Mount St. Helens Creation Center and he took us on several excursions.
If I wrote about everything we did there this post would be too long, so here are the highlights.
East Side Excursion
The green trees have all grown since the volcano. Following the landslide the pyroclastic flow blasted out at speeds up to 670 mph, knocking down 230 square miles of trees. But the tree above was far enough away it wasn’t knocked down. It was just killed from the heat.
All over the place… and I mean everywhere we can see trees with rootballs uprooted and torn from their roots having been knocked over by the blast. We saw miles and miles of devastation like this. One photo doesn’t do it justice.
In the picture below as I was looking at this from a distance I thought there was ice on the right-side of the lake. But looking through my binoculars it’s not ice! Those are logs! We took a hike to take a closer look…
Hiking down to Spirit Lake
The landslide off Mount St. Helens rushed into Spirit Lake at 110+ mph sloshing the water out of Spirit Lake onto a hill with thousands of trees. …which had just been sheared or uprooted many with root ball intact by the initial blast of superheated volcano ash and gas seconds earlier. The landslide rose the lake level by 200ft, then the water returned to the lake taking an avalanche of logs with it. These logs I took a photo of have been floating on the lake for nearly 40 years.
Sonar and divers confirm that many of the logs have sunk and are in various positions at the bottom of Spirit Lake. Since logs sunk at different times they are buried in various layers of sediment.. and they’re spread out all over the lake as if they were a forest. All of this from one event nearly 40 years ago. You’ll notice that this looks very similar to the Yellowstone Petrified Forest where trees are found in different layers of sediment, often with the root ball attached but no roots.
What’s happening in Spirit Lake doesn’t fit the evolutionary narrative of millions of years. This Yellowstone Park article https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/yellowstones-petrified-forest still claims that trees found in multiple layers indicate forests over different time periods over tens of thousands of years …and of course it all happened 50 million years ago. The evidence doesn’t bear this out. We know the petrified forest doesn’t need 50 million years to form. We know it can happen very quickly …because we are seeing how it happened today!
Mount St. Helens Creation Center
If you’re in the Mount St. Helens area, you should stop by the Mount St. Helens Creation Center in Castle Rock, WA. There you may find biblical creationist Paul Taylor who is more than happy to answer questions about a variety of topics. There’s a video presentation area where talks are given, comfy chairs and a couch to sit in, complimentary coffee, a few book displays featuring his books as well as other creationists, some free brochures, and a number of exhibits and displays. We were only there an hour in total but could have easily spent half the day there. The center was quite busy before Paul had to shut it down for the excursions.
Between Excursion days we explored the Ape Cave and Lava Tubes
West Side Excursion
This is the most popular excursion.
This area is a national monument so there is no reforesting or replanting by humans, everything you see is a completely natural which shows how quickly plants recover. A lot of mud flowed through here.
Castle Lake didn’t exists before 1980… it was created by the eruption.
The landslide that was traveling so fast and far it crested this ridge (the smaller hills are from the landslide). We are walking on the Johnston ridge in this photo near the observatory about 5 miles from the volcano.
Lupine is important to help the area recover, this flower helps other plants grow in volcanic areas by taking nitrogen out of the air and then sharing it with other plants through roots.
For as long as I can remember secular scientists have claimed layers of rock such as you see in the Grand Canyon must have formed over millions of years. This is not observational science, but an assumption made to fit the evolutionary narrative. From the Johnston Ridge with a pair of binoculars I can see the layers. If nobody where there to observe the Mount St. Helens evolutionary scientists today would say the rock layers here took millions of years to form just like they say the Grand Canyon did. But for Mount St. Helens we where there to observe it so we know how old these layers are. 25 feet of organized matter was laid down by the volcano in a very short time. How long did it take to form these 200 (conservatively) layers? 3 hours.
Even today, secular scientists will still defend a millions of years timeline for the grand canyon. E.g. https://geology.com/articles/age-of-the-grand-canyon.shtml When I was at the Johnston Observatory I didn’t see any displays or comments discussing the rapid formation of these layers. It’s one of the most fascinating features here but the only display you’ll find on it is at the Creation Center.
Paul Taylor Conference at Kootenai Church May 2020
Paul Taylor is coming to speak at Kootenai Community Church in May of 2020 (which coincides with the 40th Year Anniversary of the eruption). If you’re up in North Idaho it will be well worth your time to attend. I expect registration for the conference will open up sometime in 2020 so watch the main website for registration if you’re interested (you can also leave a comment saying you’re interested and I’ll email you when registration opens).
One person that was on the excursion with us was there right before it happened and actually had taken pictures months before the eruption. It was also neat to talk to some of the locals who witnessed the event and how it personally impacted them. I even talked to some people in North Idaho who remember a strange cloud interrupting a sunny day and covering the area with ash. It’s fascinating to listen to all their stories.
This was a great trip, fun for our family and a good learning experience. It was also enjoyable because I didn’t check work email the entire time (I did take my laptop just in case and my coworkers knew they could text or call for anything critical). They didn’t have to contact me once (thanks for everyone who worked hard to make that happen).
During the excursion Paul reminded us that 2 Peter 3 tells us in the last days that scoffers will deny two events: Creation and the Flood.
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
2 Peter 3:5-6
You’ll notice from 2 Peter 3 that overlooking Creation and the Flood isn’t a result of ignorance. It is deliberate. It is not that there isn’t compelling evidence. Evidence is staring the evolutionary scientist in the face. Observational science won’t change them because they already know the truth and suppress it. Rather, it is an issue of lack of belief in Jesus Christ. So while the evidence found at Mount St. Helens has value and confirms the position of biblical creationists, evidence is not what we base our beliefs on. Rather, we base our beliefs on God’s Word. Evidence is not the means that will transform an unbeliever into a believer. Rather God has chosen to use the power of the gospel for that task.
On clear nights I would often take Eli outside to look at the stars when he was a toddler. I told him the names of a few stars, he asked me to tell him the names of all the stars. I found out quickly young eyes are better for looking at stars, he could see a lot more of them than me. This evening we got a chance to look at Jupiter and two of it’s moons using a telescope!
Right now it’s close enough you can see Jupiter’s moons with a good pair of binoculars.
Finding Jupiter was the easiest part. Early evening it was right where it should be.
The most difficult part was pointing the telescope at that star. We borrowed a telescope (thanks Sean!) and after lots of randomly fiddling with the various undocumented knobs I finally figured out which ones did X another X, Y, Z, Y again, another Y, a yawing Y, and some sort of arc, and got it pointed towards Jupiter!
The earth of course is rotating so I had to re-align it every minute or so. I think it would be a great idea for someone to make a telescope with built in gyroscopes so they will stay pointed in a particular direction.
I’m guessing the moons we saw were Europa and Callisto since Io and Ganymede would have been transiting Jupiter at the time we were looking.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims his handiwork.
So long, CrashPlan! After using it for 5 years, CrashPlan with less than a day notice decided to delete many of my files I had backed up. Once again, the deal got altered. Deleting files with no advanced notice is something I might expect from a totalitarian leader, but it isn’t acceptable for a backup service.
CrashPlan used to be the best offering for backups by far, but those days are gone. I needed to find something else. To start with I noted my requirements for a backup solution:
Fully Automated. I am not going to remember to do something like take a backup on a regular basis. Between the demands from all aspects of life I already have trouble doing the thousands of things I should already be doing and I don’t need another thing to remember.
Should alert me on failure. If my backups start failing. I want to know. I don’t want to check on the status periodically.
Efficient with bandwidth, time, and price.
Protect against my backup threat model (below).
Not Unlimited. I’m tired of “unlimited” backup providers like CrashPlan not being able to handle unlimited and going out of business or altering the deal. I either want to provide my own hardware or pay by the GB.
This also gave me a good opportunity to review my backup strategy. I had been using a strategy where all local and cloud devices backed up to a NAS on my network, and then those backups were relayed to a remote (formerly CrashPlan) backup service. The other model is a direct backup. I like this a little better because living in North Idaho I don’t have a good upload speed so in several cases I’ve been in situations where my remote backups from the NAS would never complete because I don’t have enough bandwidth to keep up.
Now if Ting could get permission to run fiber under the railroad tracks and to my house I’d have gigabit upload speed, but until then the less I have to upload from home the better.
Backup Threat Model
It’s best practice to think through all the threats you are protecting against. If you don’t do this exercise you may not think about something important… like keeping your only backup in the same location as your computer. My backup threat model (these are the threats which my backups should protect against):
Disasters. If a fire sweeps through North Idaho burning every building but I somehow survive I want my data. So must have offsite backups in a different geo-location. We can assume that all keys and hardware tokens will be lost in a disaster so those must not be required to restore. At least one backup should be in a geographically separate area from me.
Malware or ransomware. Must have an unavailable or offline backup.
Physical theft or data leaks. Backups must be encrypted.
Silent Data Corruption. Data integrity must be verified regularly and protected against bitrot.
Time. I do not ever want to lose more than a days worth of work so backups must run on a daily basis and must not consume too much of my time maintaining them.
Fast and easy targeted restores. I may need to recover an individual file I have accidentally deleted.
Accidental Corruption. I may have a file corrupted or accidentally overwrite it and may not realize it until a week later or even a year alter. Therefore I need versioned backups to be able to restore a file from points in time up to several years.
Complexity. If something were to happen to me, the workstation backups must be simple enough that Kris would be able to get to them. It’s okay if she has to call one of my tech friends for help, but it should be simple enough that they could figure it out.
Non-payment of backup services. Backups must persist on their own in the event that I am unaware of failed payments or unable to pay for backups. If I’m traveling and my CC gets compromised I don’t want to not have backups.
Bad backup software. The last thing you need is your backup software corrupting all your data because of some bug (I have seen this happen with rsync) so it should be stable. Looking at the git history I should be seeing minor fixes and infrequent releases instead of major rewrites and data corruption bug fixes.
My friend Meredith had contacted me about swapping backup storage. We’re geographically separated so that works to cover local disasters. So that’s what we did, each of us setup an SSH/SFTP server for the other to backup to. I had plenty of space on my Proxmox environment so I created a VM for him and put it in an isolated DMZ. He had a Raspberry Pi and bought a new 4TB western digital external USB drive that he setup at his house for me.
Duplicati Backup Solution for Workstations
For Windows desktops I chose Duplicati 2. It also works with Mac, and Linux but for my purposes I just evaluated Windows.
Duplicati has a nice local web interface. It’s simple and easy to use. Adding a new backup job is simple and gives plenty of options for my backup sets and destinations (this allows me to backup not only to a remote SFTP server, but also to any cloud service such as Backblaze B2 or Amazon S3).
Duplicati 2 has status icons in the system tray that quickly indicate any issues. The first few runs I was seeing a red icon indicating the backup had an error. Looking at the log it was because I had left programs open locking files it was trying to back up. I like that it warns about this instead of silently not backing up files.
Green=In Progress, Grey=Paused, Black=Idle, Red=Error on the last backup.
Duplicati 2 seems to work well. I have tested restores and they come back pretty quickly. I can backup to my NAS as well as a remote server and a cloud server.
Two things I don’t care for Duplicati 2.
It is still labeled Beta. That said it is a lot more stable than some GA software I’ve used.
There are too many projects with similar names. Duplicati, Duplicity, Duplicacy. It’s hard to keep them straight.
Other considerations for workstation backups:
rsync – no gui
restic- no gui
Borg backup – Windows not officially supported
Duplicacy- License only allows personal
Restic Backup for Linux Servers
I settled on Restic for Linux servers. I have used Restic on several small projects over the years and it is a solid backup program. Once the environment variables are set it’s one command to backup or restore which can be run from cron.
It’s also easy to mount any point in time snapshot as a read-only filesystem.
Borg backup came in pretty close to Restic, the main reason I chose Restic is the support for backends other than sftp. The cheapest storage these days is object storage such as Backblaze B2 and Wasabi. If Meredith’s server goes down, with Borg backup I’d have to redo my backup strategy entirely. With restic I have the option to quickly add a new cloud backup target.
Looking at my threat model there are two potential issues with Restic:
A compromised server would have access to delete it’s own backups. This can be mitigated by storing the backup on a VM that is backed by storage configured with periodic immutable ZFS snapshots.
Because restic uses a push instead of a pull model, a compromised server would also have access to other server’s backups increasing the risk of data exfiltration. At the cost of some deduplication benefits this can be mitigated by setting up one backup repository per host, or at the very least by creating separate repos for groups of hosts. (e.g. a restic repo set for minecraft servers and separate restic repo for web servers).
I’ve minimized manual steps but some still must be performed:
Backup to cold storage. This is archiving everything to an external hard drive and then leaving it offline. I do this manually once a year on world backup day and also after major events (e.g. doing taxes, taking awesome photos, etc.). This is my safety in case online backups get destroyed.
Test restores. I do this once a year on world backup day.
Verify backups are running. I have a reminder set to do this once a quarter. With Duplicati I can check in the web UI, and with a single Restic command it can get a list of hosts with the most recent backup date for each.
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
When Eli was 4, Kris and I needed to keep him occupied while we packed our house up ahead of a move… so I found a video by Answers in Genesis and put it on. Eli discovered an interest in the solar system. He liked it.
For the next several years he studied the planets.
Made drawings of planets
Created the asteroid belt…
Made the solar system out of balls…
Made the solar system out of dinosaurs…
Represented it with Legos…
Another Lego Solar System…
His interest in astronomy has not waned so we were excited when we found out Dr. Jason Lisle was coming to our church for a conference. It was held last Friday/Saturday and one of the best conferences I’ve attended.
His sessions covered a foundation on Genesis, Astronomy, Science, Fractals, and a few Q&A sessions (he answered Kris’s questions about the multiverse and Kuiper Belt). The conference was recorded so if you’re interested you can watch it below:
Eli’s second love is math, so his favorite part was the session on how God thinks about numbers, which spent a good deal on fractals on Day 2.
Earlier this year while attending a home school curriculum conference I was reminded that there is no subject that can be taught from a neutral perspective. You are either for God or against God. Even math. You can either teach it from a secular perspective which is to ignore God and avoid the question of where math comes from or perhaps try to come up with some explanation about why math exists and even works; or you can teach it from the worldview that that all things including abstract things like math are created by God and therefore have beauty and reflect His nature. By studying math we are discovering what God thinks about numbers and would therefore expect to find beauty in numbers. There is no neutral position. Dr. Lisle’s presentation made this more apparent.
“I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.” – Johannes Kepler
In 2015 I bought myself and Kris Dell Latitude E5450 laptops. 1 year later her battery was fine, however mine lasted 60 seconds on a full charge. I attribute this to Kris often using her computer on battery and not having it plugged in all the time, and me always having my computer in the docking station so it’s constantly charging.
60 seconds of run-time
I lived with a bad battery for 3 years… 60 seconds is enough to run from one outlet to the next without having to power down… which is really all I need. Although I’ll admit 120 seconds would be nice!
Battery Swelling Issue
A couple weeks ago I noticed a crack near my touchpad… and a bulge. My laptop was growing! Or rather, the battery was expanding! The battery pack is about 175% the height of what it should be!
I quickly waited a few months, and decided that despite the battery still giving me my 60 seconds, this could be a safety or fire risk or my laptop might break if it swells much more, so out of prudence decided to buy a new Dell G5M10 battery. After installing it I went into the BIOS and noticed settings to change how Dell manages the battery! You can opt for faster charging, more run-time, or more longevity.
Here are the batttery life settings.
Charge Time, Run Time, or Lifespan. Pick any 1, sometimes 2.
ExpressCharge – Faster charging. This was the default! The problem is the faster you charge a battery the more you cause it to wear out sooner. This makes sense for people on the road who don’t have a lot of time to recharge. But it doesn’t make sense if you’re almost always on AC power like me. This setting probably has a high charge stop up to maximum capacity (100%?) and high custom charge start (95%) so that it’s always ready. I’m not an expert in batteries, but I believe batteries naturally lose power over time so each time it drops 5% of it’s power it charges back up to 100%… those constant charge cycles cause a lot of wear not to mention the battery is being held at full charge which causes it to degrade faster. Running in this setting is giving you the best performance but you’re pushing the limits.
Standard – This is the same as ExpressCharge as far as I can tell but a little slower charge. Other than that it’s still going to wear the battery out fast.
Primary AC User – Designed to extend the battery lifespan for laptops that are usually plugged in. I assume this does two things: It probably slows down the charge rate, sets the Charge stop to a lower value like 70%, and sets the charge start to around 50% (I’m completely guessing at these numbers). This reduces the number of charge cycles needed to maintain the battery and is generally charging the battery up to levels suitable for long-term storage instead of maximum performance giving you the best lifespan at the cost of run-time. If you want longevity at the cost of run-time this is the setting you want.
Adaptive – This is what the default should be! It’s a trade-off between the two. It optimizes battery settings based on how you typically use the computer. Meaning if you’re running on AC power all the time it will act more like the Primary AC power setting, but if it sees you are using the battery a lot it will start behaving like the ExpressCharge.
Custom – Could also set custom values
Optimizing Battery for both performance and longevity depending on the time of day
This will only drive your battery hard when you might need the run-time, but go easy the rest of the time. If you have a fixed schedule you can tell your Dell laptop what times of day you need more run-time. But then outside of those hours it will maximize longevity.
Well, I’ll be changing my BIOS setting to Primary AC User.
And with my brand new battery I’m liking the new 4-hour run-time again. Now days I walk from outlet to outlet instead of running.
How to Get Longer Life Out of your ThinkPad Battery