Greg MacLellan

August 27, 2009

Installing Casing

Filed under: Renovations,Reviews — groogs @ 8:00 pm

imgp4068 Lately, I’ve spent a lot of boring time painting (though Jocelyn has helped me a lot with painting), cutting, installing, and wood filling trim (and still have some more to go). I’ve been coming to the conclusion that I am not a fan of finishing work.

imgp4071 imgp4072

imgp4064 I’ve been borrowing Jocelyn’s dad’s mitre saw almost since I started this project, but I’ve used it so much that I decided it was time to buy my own. After looking at several, I settled on a Craftsman 10″ sliding compound mitre saw. There were three of these that almost looked identical, but differed in price by about $130. The people at Sears could not tell me the difference, other than one, which was ~$250 CDN, has arms that extend out from the base, so that’s what I ended up buying. So far, I’ve been quite happy with it and would recommend it without hesitation. The laser is pretty accurate, and the positive miter stops make doing the different angles for trim very easy.

Update: Part 2 – Finishing baseboard.

April 19, 2006

Expensive Speaker Cable

Filed under: Asides,General,Reviews — groogs @ 1:31 pm

Something that’s bugged me for a long time, and that I’ve been meaning to blog about, is overpriced speaker wire. I found an article someone had linked to in a thread about a certain brand of cables, and it really exactly echos what I wanted to say anyways. This particular piece is a review from 1983, but certainly still valid: Stereo review dares to tell the truth. The rest of the page is also very good, so have a read through. Fair warning: if you paid a signifigant chunk of change for your cables, you may not want to read this review. After all, ignorance is bliss.

April 18, 2006

CodeIgniter

Filed under: Code,General,Reviews — groogs @ 8:13 pm

I’ve been playing with a sweet PHP framework called CodeIgniter, and I have to say: I love it. It uses the MVC pattern, which I’ve never much cared for, but does it in a nice way: by staying out of the way. The models are incredibly basic, and really, you don’t even need them. The views are PHP templates done the way PHP templates should be done; with PHP.

Something many frameworks miss: the documentation is amazing. There is a great tutorial video on their website, and after watching it, many people say they’re hooked. The user guide is even better: well laid out, and it even has a slick interface and look that makes it pleasurful to use. What’s missing is pure API documentation, but there is a reference (that I now have printed and posted just above my desk) and most of the calls are outlined in the manual.

Unlike many other frameworks, it doesn’t impose any strict methods of doing anything. You have a controller that is a class with a bunch of functions. There are ‘helpers’, ‘libraries’, ‘plugins’, that all have a common way of loading ( $this->load->library(‘session’); for example). These can be core libraries, or application-specific (installed in the application/ folder). The directory layout is very intuitive, and it can all go underneath an HTTP root folder (not requiring certain files inside/outside of a web-accessable folder — double plus for people using shared hosting with open_basedir restrictions).

I started experimenting with it for the second version of web interface I’m writing, and I actually decided to port another application I had 75% done to it. It’s still in-progress as I write some user authentication routines, and I decided to write a “SuperModel” class (yeah, kind of dumb name) that builds forms and validates them – because I hate manually building forms.

If you’re a PHP developer, I highly recommend checking this framework out. It’s only been around publically for a couple months and has been aparently downloaded over 5000 times, and has a growing and active community in the forums.

January 25, 2006

I can see clearly now

Filed under: Reviews — groogs @ 5:19 pm

The last few times we’ve had a heavy snowfall or worse, freezing rain, I was harshly reminded that it was time to get new wiper blades as mine were leaving streaks – of course directly lined up so I had to either strech up high or crunch down low to see properly. So I decided to take the annoying know-it-all guy‘s advice and try out Canadian Tire’s reflex wiper blades. After aclimitizing them to the backseat of my car for a couple weeks, I finally put them on about a week ago. And then all the snow melted.

However, they did work quite well in the rain, at least as well as a brand new set of normal wipers. I drove on the highway in the rain with them, and they kept up well enough.
The real test came when it finally snowed (yikes, am I somehow happy it snowed?) yesterday. A nice wet packy snow. I brushed the majority of the snow off as usual, didn’t touch the wipers at all, and got in and turned them on. The windshield was perfectly cleaned. No streaks, and no hinges to clean ice out of. I was decently impressed. (Decently enough to blog about it anyways, if that says anything.)

I’d recommend these to anyone, espessially people who have to endure snow and freezing rain on a regular basis. They’re not a whole lot more expensive than regular wipers, but much less frustrating. I’ll do an update in a couple months about how well they fare with age, but thus far I’m happy. Thanks mysterious Canadian Tire guy.