We're a little crazy, about science!

Posts tagged “how to

Forgotten inventions, or so you want a patent

Fun fact about me, I enjoy making things. You know, in case that wasn’t obvious. But, once upon a time I thought it would be smart to make sure I protected my ideas so I hold one patent based on something I came up with. Or at least I did have one patent, now once the paperwork is done it will be two. Unlike my in progress papers I can actually freely talk about this, but for the most part I think the journey is the important part of the story.

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Salted caramel apple empanadas

Technically this is a failure and from a previous batch, but I love that you can see the filling inside

Fine, I will give out my recipe! But be warned with great empanadas come great responsibilities! In other words, once you make these for your friends or family you’ll be obligated to make more. Ask me how I know! That said, I never bothered to write down the recipe, I’ve always made it by “feel,” but since I’ve shared pictures twice now of the result I keep getting the request for it.

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Holiday magic, a how to guide!

Well it’s the holiday season. Whether you’ve already celebrated, are about to celebrate, or don’t celebrate at all, one thing is certain. Things look a whole lot different than just a few years ago. I, of all people, understand feeling numb or helpless as we look around us and see all the suffering that is going on. I can also acknowledge that if we’re going to get through this then some self care is in order. For a lot of us, even if we’re not the religious type, the holidays are supposed to be magical. So it’s my annual reminder that with a little effort you can help bring a little magic, or maybe a bit of mischief to the season.

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A beginners guide to watercooling, from a beginner.

I have built a lot of computers over the years. It’s actually not that hard to do since most things are labeled and use different types of connectors so it’s hard to screw it up unless you’re not paying attention. Up until recently I’ve never watercooled a PC, at least not in the build it myself sense. The internet is full of how-to guides to help you do this, but most of them are from people who do these types of builds regularly. I find that they skip over some of the basic things that you may need to know because they’ve forgotten that it’s not common knowledge. Since I’ve successfully finished my first build and don’t like hoarding knowledge, I want to share how to do it, for beginners, by a beginner.

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PC build part eight, closing the loop

It feels very sci-fi around here now!

As promised this is the grand finale to the custom water cooling hard tube build saga. As in, the computer is back up and running… finally. It’s been a journey, but I’m hopeful that the latest mods will keep me from having any more problems that I need to stop my work and fix. I mean modding your computer for fun is one thing, needing to do it is a whole other thing. Still, I’m thankful for the little pause and I got to make a few needed changes/upgrades while the computer was down so it isn’t all that terrible.

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PC build part seven, the tale of the leaky loop

It is done, well kind of!

Well I’ve done it… mostly. The loop is finally complete and I’ve pressure test it. There were of course some technical difficulties, which I resolved, but I also caused because I’m an idiot. I wasn’t planning on making another computer post until I had the thing turned on and finished, but today I want to tell the story of how a $20 USD part saved my computer.

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PC build part six, now with more bends!

So many bends, it’s an excessive number of bends.

Yep, still working on the hard tube bends. It’s a lot… harder than it looks! Pun fully intended. Today I have good news and bad news. The bad news is there’s still some work to be done before I get to pressure test and finally finish this build. The good news is there’s only one bend I need to make and one or two I would like to redo if I have enough tubing for it.

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PC build part five, the first bends

It’s not the tube that bends it is only yourself,… or some mystical crap like that.

We’re getting bendy! After all the work I had to do yesterday I didn’t think there would be time to bend tubing yesterday, but I was determined to get started and I did. The good news, some of it’s done. The bad news, bending tube isn’t easy. There was a lot of trial and error, even more waste, and even now it’s not perfect *sad face* … but it’s almost time to wrap this project up!

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PC build part four, electrical fire edition!

An explosion of wires!

Okay, okay clickbait headline, I admit it. If you’re here for a real electrical fire you’re out of luck. Thankfully I haven’t had an electrical fire… yet, I haven’t turned the computer on since I’ve started this project. However, a few things happened yesterday so I need to figure out my cable management before I get too much further. It’s something I’ve been ignoring and I’m finally sharing some of the mess that I’ve (somewhat purposefully) been hiding.

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Part three, extreme PC modding!

Where we are at, for the moment.

It’s no secret, it’s been a hell of a week for me. To help distract me (unsuccessfully) I decided to do some of the major mods to the PC that needed to happen in order to get everything the way I want it for the final assembly. I’m hoping tomorrow will be that day, but there are still (STILL) parts I’m waiting on, so it may be a photo finish. If not, well I can always finish is during the week or next weekend (probably).

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Day two, the computer teardown

Talk about spoilers! This is where we are at this moment.

Well it’s day two of the big computer watercooling loop install and I’m already running into several problems. Some of them can be fixed quickly, while others… let’s just say I needed to get different parts so I’m in the process of doing that. As promised, there are tons of photos and explanations of everything I’ve done so far and why this is turning into a headache. Sometimes doing a custom job means getting extra custom.

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The computer rebuild plan

The frustratingly hot brain of my computer. Currently things are not looking good, but that should change soon… ish. I haven’t removed the watercooler yet, this is a photo from last year when I had to do this once already.

Okay after yesterday’s news that my computer is once again limping along I spent the day trying to figure out what to do. After spending a ludicrous amount of time researching and finding the parts I want to replace the clogged garbage I’m currently dealing with I think I have it all figured out, but it’s not going to be an easy (or cheap) fix. The good news is this is going to be the ultimate solution, the one that will (hopefully) be the last fix until either something breaks, I rebuild the computer completely, or I graduate.

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So you want to email a PI

It’s that time of the year again, people are gearing up to apply for graduate school and with it a flurry of things to get done. Graduate school isn’t for everyone, but if you’re planning on making the jump, now is the time to lock in the schools you want to attend. More important than the school is the lab you want to work, you have looked into the labs at your dream school… right? Finding a good PI (primary investigator or the boss of the lab) is, in my opinion, even more important than getting into that dream school of yours. So buckle up and we’re going to talk about how we find the perfect lab.

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I’m teaching solid modeling, again.

The lightbulb from my last lectures, you can make one too (here)!

Well I got a surprise email from my main-PI yesterday reminding me that I was teaching two classes this week. I knew it was coming, the surprise was that the summer courses are still going on, I haven’t gotten a single email about them since I taught my intro to MATLAB class. Normally when I teach I put all the information out there on the web for all of you to use it how you see fit. This class isn’t going to be that way, but there’s a good reason for it.

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Intro to MATLAB – Part 2

I’m teaching an intro to MATLAB class and if it’s one thing I hate it’s hording knowledge so I’m sharing it here for all of you to enjoy! If you missed the first part, fear not you can find it here. I’ve also created a special category (the Intro to MATLAB category) where you can find these posts and a whole lot of other things I’ve taught, like my 10 week solid modeling for beginners classes and my incredibly detailed and surprisingly popular, know your spinal cord series (my personal favorite). Okay enough plugging my classes, let’s talk MATLAB.

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How to find the right lab for your PhD

Going into a PhD program is a confusing whirlwind of stress, new experiences, and the general feeling of being lost. You do belong there… right? You know what’s harder than making the choice to get your PhD? Finding the lab you want to call home for the next five or more years. Inspired by advice I gave to one of the undergrads I’m mentoring, today we’re going to talk about how you should hunt down a lab you want to be a part of. It’s that time of the year again, but don’t worry, finding the right lab for you doesn’t need to be scary.

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Surviving catastrophe: A how to guide

Well what a crazy time to be alive, a time where everything is trying to kill us. Okay I acknowledge that nature is one ruthless force, but a lot of what has happened in the past few days has been almost completely due to human greed. Between the global warming causing this “once in a lifetime” storm — that is certainly not once in a lifetime — and power companies more concerned about profit than human lives, it’s been a trial. People, real people like you or I, but with far more money, are trying to kill us. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

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Even more woodworking!

Once again we’re switching topics, because why not? We’re entering perilous territory here folks. It’s almost time for the dreaded door install. Doors and drawers are hard! On the brightside today you’ll see I did a test fit and it went well. There’s still a bit to be done before I can stain/finish the piece, but the end is nigh! Once again it’s time to talk about some wood.

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Woodworking Update

Some of the wood was warped, so I just put some weight on top of it to straighten it out a bit before I use it.

Since it’s vacation time I’ve switched gears to doing some woodworking projects I enjoy that don’t really benefit anything. Maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it, learning a new skill is beneficial, but I guess what I really mean is that it’s a hobby I find relaxing. Crafting something is an interesting experience and while I still have a few days of work left (at least!) I’m almost done and it feels good.

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The year I ruined Christmas

I’ve been promising (or perhaps threatening) to tell the story about the year I ruined Christmas. Yes, this is the stand mixer tale I’ve been alluding to in my previous posts (here and here). Don’t worry, it has a happy and hilarious ending, but the lead up to it was, well a bit uncomfortable to say the least. It has made for a running joke though and this year was the return of the stand mixer to celebrate. Let’s just dive into the story and things will make more sense.

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How to REALLY wrap presents! Part 2

santa

As promised we’re going to talk more about how to wrap badly, on purpose! Basically I’m trying to introduce a new way to level up your gift giving experience. It’s a way to make your holidays more magical, best of all, this works for any present giving time, birthdays, weddings, anytime! If you’re just tuning in you should read part 1, where I introduce the first principles of stealth wrapping. Today I’ll give some more examples and a few helpful hints I’ve learned over the years of doing this. Let’s get going!!

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How to REALLY wrap presents!

Regularly shaped gifts can be so boring! Who wants to look at a bunch of box shaped gifts?!

Tis’ the season! Every year I try to make the holidays slightly more magical than they normally are. Depending on your traditions and what you believe in, you’re probably planning on giving gifts to the people you care about too. Think about it for a second, perfectly wrapped rectangular packages organized neatly just waiting for you to open them. But that’s boring!!! Why wrap your gifts nice and square when you can have some fun with it. Let me blow your mind.

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Day 127: Stealth wrapping Pt. 3

santa

For the past two days I’ve been trying to introduce a new way to level up your gift giving experience. It’s a way to make your holidays more magical, best of all, this works for any present giving time, birthdays, weddings, anytime! If you’re just tuning in you should read part 1, where I introduce the first principles of stealth wrapping. Yesterday I posted a few more examples, which you can see here. Today I’ll give some last examples and a few helpful hints I’ve learned over the years of doing this. Let’s get going!!

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Day 126: Stealth wrapping Pt. 2

wrapping

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post. If you haven’t read how I like to wrap my presents, you should probably start here. For the rest of you, this is going to be just a few more examples of my wrapping creativity. Same rules apply, don’t stealth wrap your gift as something the person would want! I CANNOT stress that enough, otherwise let’s get started.

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Day 125: I wrap better than you, a how to guide

Presents

Tis’ the season! The holidays are here and depending on your traditions and what you believe in, you’re probably planning on giving gifts to the people you care about. Think about it for a second, perfectly wrapped rectangular packages organized neatly just waiting for you to open them. But that’s boring!!! Why wrap your gifts nice and square when you can have some fun with it. Let me blow your mind.

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