Scheduling Automatic Modem and Router Power Cycling Using a NetReset NR-1000US

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Back at the house the cable modem and router usually operate just fine but every now and then something hangs up and unfortunately it’s not always practical to go by to reset the gear. And asking a friend to do it for me, even when they’re eager to do it, just seems unfair.

So I searched for a device on Amazon.com, as usual, and sure enough someone has a product that is intended for exactly this need. The NetReset NR100US, which cost about $45, can be set to automatically reset the power to both outlets on the device using a set delay between them. It will turn off one outlet for a minute, turn it back on, and then a minute later do the same for the next.

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Slowing Water Leakage in a Bathtub (Severe Weather Prep)

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We’ve had a threat or two of a hurricane in our area over the summer and into the fall so more than once we filled up the tubs to store water for flushing the toilets and rinsing things. The largest tub in our place can hold a lot of water but unfortunately it had a slow leak at the drain that over the course of several hours was too severe.

Fortunately I found a very simple solution: electrical tape.

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Building a seal around the drain and the drain cap slowed the leak to a point that I couldn’t even tell if it was leaking any more.

Easy Replacement Cap for a Blitz 6.5 Gallon Water Can

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A few years ago I purchased a Blitz 6.5 Gallon Water Can just in case we had a major hurrican that would knock out power at the house. Though I did fill it a couple of times we did not end up using it (yet).

But one day I lost a cap to a gas can and was in desperate need to replace it. I discovered that the water can’s cap would fit perfectly and so that’s where it ended up. Of course, once used on a gas can it simply wouldn’t be good to use on the water can again.

This year I decided to bring the can to our apartment to prep for hurricane season but unfortunately it still lacked a cap.

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Fixing a Blank Default Web Browser Setting in OS X El Capitan

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I don’t know what causes this problem but recently I discovered that the “Default web browser” setting in the General preferences tab was blank. Clicking on the drop-down showed no browser names so I could not change the use of Safari as the default browser.

The fix was relatively simple. I opened Chrome and via settings within Chrome I set it to be the default web browser. After completing this action I then had the names of the installed browsers in the “Default web browser” drop-down.

This fix may work using any browser that allows you to set it as the default from within the browser settings itself.

Finding the Last Bottle in Tortuga – LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game for Nintendo 3DS

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The Short Version:
This appears to be a glitch. For some unknown reason the tenth bottle in the Tortuga level is only awarded for achieving “True Pirate” in Story Mode. 

Finding time to play any video game is a challenge these days but I did manage to pickup my Nintendo 3DS and work on finishing Disney’s LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. The various LEGO games have many hidden items to be discovered.

I managed to find every red brick, medallion, and all but one bottle. After all of this effort I wanted to achieve 100% completion. After all, not only is it rare that I actually play a video game to the end but it’s extremely rare that I complete every side mission and find every collectible.

Fortunately, the game shows the player a count of the items that have yet to be discovered and which levels they are located in.

In this case I was lacking a bottle in the Tortuga level (level 1-2). Finding the bottle proved to be frustrating; after numerous re-visits I was unable to discover this one item.

I had noticed that on other levels, when one achieves “True Pirate” by collecting enough LEGO pieces (referred to as “studs”), that a bottle is awarded.

After collecting and activating various multipliers it was easy to achieve “True Pirate” in Free Play mode. Yet, I still lacked this bottle so I decided to replay the Tortuga level in Story Mode.

Surprisingly, when I hit “True Pirate” again I was awarded the missing tenth bottle. It was at that moment that I also achieved 100% completion.

Perhaps it was a random glitch or maybe it can occur within other levels. I was unable to find this information on the Web after numerous searches though I did find a post by someone else who was asking a question that indicated that this person experienced the same problem that I had.

It’s worth mentioning that the 3DS version appears to be very different from the versions made for the larger console systems such as Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The guides and walkthroughs describe level elements that don’t match up with the 3DS version.

Baby Monitor (Temporarily) Killed Z-Wave Network

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Late last week I started to experience problems with various Z-Wave modules that began having communication problems. One module refused to work at all and others, including our thermostats, demonstrated frequent communication problems.

This was frustrating because I had never experienced communication issues with my Z-Wave gear; it is one of the reasons that I have come to prefer Z-Wave.

At first I thought it was a software issue and then I began checking batteries and routing. After a couple of days I figured out what was actually causing the problem.

Our baby monitors were creating interference. It turns out that the monitors operate in the 900 MHz range and so does Z-Wave. This also explained why it wasn’t my entire Z-Wave network that had problems; only the devices clustered in and near the nursery.

The monitor that we have provides a button to change available channels. Tapping this a few times adjusted the frequency of the monitors enough to remove the interference. Ever since then the communication problems have disappeared (in fact, the change was nearly instant).