Monday, October 10, 2011

Latest Shop Addition: Router Table

After using a lot of make shift router tables to build my shoe cabinet, I decided to buy a router table. Router tables are very versatile and woodworkers often build their own (much like building a workbench is a rite of passage), but this time I decided that I'd rather just buy one and use my time on building other things instead. Instead of a full size router table, I went with a portable benchtop model because my space is limited so I went with the Benchdog contractor's table.

It wasn't difficult to setup and the table top and fence is pretty nice. It is a benchtop version so it has to sit on something or it is pretty low to the ground. Putting it on top of my workbench would make it too high to comfortably work with so I decided to build a mobile base for it which will also give me some extra storage for all my router related stuff while letting me move the table around the shop easily.

I used plywood that was left over from another, bought 3 inch casters and spent an afternoon working on it.  Compared to how long it took me to build the shoe cabinet, making this cabinet went lightning fast.  Having the router table to help create the dado and rabbits definitely made things go much faster. 

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Straightening Warped Ikea Solid Wood Table Top Part 1

Ikea, mostly known for its modern Scandinavian design particle board furniture, also sells some solid wood products such as counter tops and table tops.  They aren't expensive hardwoods but cheaper woods such as pine and beech, but if you don't have the equipment or time to mill your own stock (thickness planer, jointer, etc.) and laminate them together then Ikea might be an alternative.

That was my thinking since I wanted to have wood table in the office that can take some abuse, but I don't have the equipment to do it from rough stock.  Telling She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed that I'm going to spend $800 on equipment to build a $100 table won't end pretty so for $79, I picked up the beech wood table top and a few legs.

The table top looks nice, but to my dismay when I opened up the box it was obviously slightly warped.  My wife didn't seem to notice but I took out my 4' level and sure enough there was a slight curve around 1/8th of an inch.  My first thought was to go exchange it but transporting the sucker is a pain.  After some googling, I settled on an "old timer's" method.

Take the table top and put it on grass that is slightly damp during a sunny day with the concave side facing down.  This will let one side absorb some moisture and the sun will dry/pull moisture through the other side.  The idea is to balance the moisture content in the wood so that it will flatten.  After leaving it out for about 3 hours, the wood had indeed flattened.  Actually it started to warp a little in the other way so I had to flip it one more time and keep a more careful eye on it.

Once it was flat, I took it into the garage but sometime can up and I had to leave it there for a few hours.  When I returned, the table was warped again but not as bad as before.  My idea was to sand the table when it was flat so that I can immediately apply some polyurethane varnish to seal the moisture so that it won't warp again, but couldn't get to it in time so it looks like I will have to try this again next weekend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Some Garage Organization

The July 4th weekend gave me a chance to tackle organizing the garage.  It is a 2-cars garage and it was important for us to be able to park at least one car in and not use everything for storage and the workshop.    After some research, I went with the RubberMaid FastTrack system for the walls since they aren't too expensive and can be installed by one person.

This is the "parking" side of the garage.  The alcove in the back corner was a perfect fit for the wing-chun stand and the wood cart was exactly the right depth that I can push it against the wall still be able to fold down the steps up to the attic.  The kids' bikes and stroller hangs off one fast track.

This is the "workshop" side of the garage.  It is still not completely done but right now it allows me to keep stuff somewhere without them getting underfoot.

I need to get some more hooks and I'm planning to add some shelving above the workbench.  The floor is pretty sloped and took a lot of shims to get it leveled.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Setting up VNC on Fedora 14

As part of going down the wrong path to debug another problem, I found myself trying to set up VNC Server on my new Fedora 14 machine.  Setting up VNC itself is pretty simple with yum and instructions can be found here including configuring the firewall to accept it:  How to Setup VNC.

Of couse, once you have VNC running, Fedora don't actually let you access it from a client and eventually I found this post which answered how to configure SELinux to allow remote connection to VNC: Fedora 14 and SSH port forwarding.

I love Linux, but sometimes it's things like these that can drive general users away.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting a DHCP Linux Host to Broadcast Its Name

When set to using DHCP, the IP address of the machine can change.  When running a server that can be annoying so in the past, I've generally assigned it a static IP and edit all the other machines' /etc/hosts file to give a name that points to the server.  Instead of keep doing this, I decided to have the Linux server broadcast its name to the local network.

Edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 by adding DHCP_HOSTNAME=<your machine name here>.

This is the location for Fedora so your distribution might be different.  ifcfg-eth0 is dependent on whatever network adaptor you want to config (i.e. if you're using a wireless adaptor it'll have a different name).

Finally, restart the network and your server should be found by your other machines simply by its name.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why it is easy to hate LeBron?

Since the NBA Finals ended there has been tons of articles about LeBron by both his fans and his distractors including some that said they felt sorry for LeBron by all the criticism.  Seriously, how bad are the criticism when most of them usually inject praise like how he is an unbelievable talent and that eventually he will win a championship.  I sure wouldn't mind if my performance reviews all included "You're totally awesome!"  In his career, I'm sure there's been more far more praise then critiques.  But I digress.  The question is why is it so easy to hate LeBron?

It's an easy question to answer (in my mind at least).  LeBron himself kind of answered it when he said after the Finals how we fans will go back to our miserable lives and he will enjoy his.  Because in the end, we don't know LeBron the person and only know LeBron the brand.  Fans hate the arrogant spoiled modern athlete.  People like the simple story of good vs. evil, hero vs villian.  LeBron embodies the modern spoiled athlete.  King James is a public figure and his profession is to provide excitement and sports drama.  It happens that his basketball character is the evil bad guy and aren't we suppose to dislike the antagonist while cheering on the protagonist?

It is easy to hate the antagonist.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sandbox with Seating

I had promised that once we have completed the house that I would build a sandbox in the backyard.  A sandbox is pretty easy to build since it's essentially a box.  A few things to consider when building a sandbox is whether there are cats and other animals around since you don't want your child's sandbox to become an oversized litter box.

Because there are cats in our neighborhood, I knew we needed to have a lid of some sort for the sandbox.  The dimensions of the box is 8' x 4' so a single lid that span the whole sandbox might be too heavy for the little ones to lift.  I decided to divide the sandbox into two 4' x 4' sections.

I built the lids to fold on top of each other so they become a seating bench when opened.  It still offers plenty of play area for the kids, easy for them to open while keeping neighborhood animals out.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Is it time for me to stop reading Yahoo finance?

I've been a big fan of Yahoo Finance and while my use of various Yahoo services have diminished, Finance (and Sports) are still two of my favorites.  However, I started to noticed that I'm less and less interested in Yahoo Finance since they no longer focus as much on news as they do on commentary, rumors and speculation.

When I look up the finance page on Yahoo, most of the articles seems to be about Google and instead of news it's often blog posts on rumors or some sensationalism.  As Yahoo change or focus their direction, I understand why they might cut some more tech-focused products but it would be sad if they let Finance deteriorate.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LazyHacker Is Now More Mobile Friendly

Those viewing this blog on a mobile device will notice a change. I've enabled mobile templates to make it more mobile friendly. To see the web version simply click the "View web version" link at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What a Crazy Year

Arguably, three of the measures of adulthood are career, family and home. Over the past year, I started a new job, had a new baby and built a new house. How do I feel? Tired. . . :-)

It was a lot of balls to juggle at once, but thankfully I had a great support system at home and at work. That's not to say that it didn't drive me crazy sometime, but we got through it in one piece!

A lot of people has helped me along the way especially following a dark period of my life. I don't know if they realized how much they kept me going and not lose track that life goes on.

I'm super excited to move to the new house with the family and start enjoying the fruits of our labors.

Week 35: Construction Is Now Complete!

The house is done!!! After a successful final inspection the city has signed off on the construction and approved it for us to move in. 35 weeks ago this was what we had:


And now this is what our soon-to-be home is:

There are still cosmetic details that need to be done such as the landscaping and touch ups on the inside, but there is nothing holding us back from starting to bring our stuff over to the new house. Our GC did an amazing job keeping the project moving forward and staying on schedule. That's quite an accomplishment for a 9 months project.

The last two weeks were pretty hectic with the rain and the backsplash people flaking out, but in the end everything got done. The backsplash went in which allowed us to get the appliances and kitchen faucets in. Finally, our front door also got installed .

Welcome, please come in.

Step through the front door.

Kitchen with actual appliances and backsplash!

22,000 BTUs, baby! Also, it allows for wok cooking on its burners.

The far right is a instant hot water filter great for that hot chocolate or tea with no waiting. :-)

We went for a solid glass backsplash for a clean look as well as easy cleaning.

From the kitchen, we can look to the great room area.

The soaking tub. I'm ready to use it now!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week 34: Beginning Landscaping and a Test

The landscaping started this week.  The driveway was completed along with the front landing and the front yard landscaping has started.  The frontyard was cleared and mulched so we can pass inspection since the city required basic landscaping, but this isn't the final product.  We'll fully start on both the front and back yard landscaping after the inspection is completed.

Here you can see the driveway pavers:

Oh, the "Test" part in the title of this post refers to me trying Picasa and Blogger's integrated feature for the first time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To Migrate from WordPress to Blogger

The actual migration from WordPress to Blogger was very easy.  The hard part was actually finding the information on how to do it.  With a medium to large WordPress blog, a little bit of technical knowledge on running command line scripts is needed, but here are the basic steps:

First, from your WordPress admin dashboard go to Tools > Export to generate a copy of your existing blog in XML format.  By default, WordPress exports everything including all the spam comments so I suggest you delete all the spam comments first (goto Comments > SPAM and delete them) and then do the export.  Some of the spam comments had bad data in them that could cause problems when you try to do the conversion to Blogger's format.  This was what caused me the biggest headache.

Once you have your export file, head over to  This is an open source project that will convert your WordPress export file to Blogger's import file.  Note that if your export file is greater then 1MB (most likely), you will need to download the script used by the site and manually do the conversion yourself (see below).

In your Blogger dashboard, simply import the the converted file and you're all set!

Manually Converting to Blogger Format

To manually do the conversion, you need to have Python which is commonly available on Linux and OSX, but doesn't come default on Windows.  Once you have Python, you need to get  the Google gdata client.  Go to the directory where you have the client and run:

sudo python install

You now have everything ready to do the conversion!  Download the conversion script from and from where you uncompress the file do:

bin/ <you file here> > blogger_import_file.xml

Go to your Blogger dashboard and import "blogger_import_file.xml". 

Why I Migrated From Wordpress to Blogger

For the past 5 years, I self-hosted my own instance of a WordPress blog running on my hosting service, but I got tired of having to do my own upgrades and applying patches.  Admittedly, WordPress is pretty easy to upgrade.  I'm not a professional blogger who needs a lot of publishing features and I don't spend too much time customizing the look of my blog.  Initially, running my own blog allowed me to get what I wanted/needed, but over the past 2-3 years I've only upgraded because of security updates.   Services such as Blogger now provide everything I need so that I can just write and not have to worry about running a blog.

Choosing to use Blogger might surprise people since it's more common these days to go from Blogger to WordPress.  While being a employee of Google adds a little motivation to dogfood my company's own product, I was looking at Blogger even before joining Google.  Blogger is a simpler blogging platform then WordPress, but still have some advance features such as built in integration with AdSense and Amazon for monetization and blog statistics.

Blogger also have recently been geting some updates on its template system that allowed me to pretty closely match the look and features of my WordPress site.

What ultimately tipped the decision, however, was that I wanted to use my own domain name ( which Blogger provides for free while WordPress charge a fee.

New URL for Lazyhacker Blog

The new URL for this blog is:!

I've moved all the content over the new location, but links to the any posts will be automatically redirected so no bookmarks should break.  All future posts will now only appear at so it's better to update any links to the new location.

I decided to do this because I got tired of maintaining my own instance of Wordpress.  Even though upgrading WP is easy, it still takes time.  There is really no real advantages running your own instance versus using a service like Blogger these days.  It used to be that the services had a lot of restrictions and weren't very flexible, but these days that's no longer true.

If you're somehow reading this at

make a comment because you should've been redirected to the new location at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 33: Waiting on the Rain

The recent rain delayed work on the driveway and landscaping which also meant that we have to move the inspection back. It's not a big deal since we're still on schedule but it's not looking like we're going to finish ahead. The protective fencing around the house have been taken down and the driveway was completed. Our glass backsplash is taking longer then expected although it isn't needed for final inspection but the hope is to have it install before we put in the stove. There are still a bunch of little detail work that needs to be done but the GC feels confident that they will be ready for inspection this week. While he takes care of getting the house ready for inspection, we've been starting to plan the front and backyard landscaping. I really like to get that done before we move in because right now the backyard is just a patch of mud and clay...

First time I can take a picture from this angle without a fence in the way!


The crew have started to clean up the inside in preparation for the inspection and because they're close to finishing:



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Find out which app is using a port.

I always forget and have to do a search, but to find out the process using a port the following can be used:

lsof -i :<port>


netstat -p

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 32: A Contemporary Traditional Asian Inspired House

We're about a week from final inspection so the stucco and driveway is starting on the exterior and in the interior it's the appliances, towel bars and other details.


To the office:


To give a sense of height:


Cabinet hardware:


Exterior lights:



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mobile sheet cart loaded

Here are some pictures of my mobile sheet cart all loaded up. It works really well and freed up a ton of space in my garage and I've been able to roll the cart around the garage myself.

Here is the side for larger sheet goods:


The middle part is used for holding lumber with the top using as a shelf:


This side is for holding misc sized parts and dowel rods:


Week 30-31: Countertops, shower doors and more trimming

The kitchen is coming together with the installation of the counter tops and cabinet doors.


Main sink:


Kitchen island sink:


Laundry room:


Shower doors now installed in my walk-in shower:


Other bathroom:




I had the painters paint the walls in the garage since it always drove me nuts to see the sheetrock tape.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Plywood and lumber cart.

Much to the dismay of my wife, my woodworking hobby resulted in our garage getting filled with plywood, wood and scraps from the different projects. One of our shelves was inaccessible since it was blocked by full sheets of plywood, and my wing chun stand became a spot for random pieces of wood to lean against. The walnut that I had were stacked under one table and was hard to sort through and the weight of everything discouraged me from moving any of it. It was time to do some organizing so I decided that I needed to build something to store both the sheet goods as well as the lumber and scraps.


Thanks to K who sacrificed two afternoons to help me with this project. We put together a sheet goods cart based on the plan in The Complete Book of Woodworking by Tom Carpenter. This design is pretty common and many examples and variations of it can be found through a Google search. I like this particular design because the cuts and assembly are pretty straight forward. Some of the nice things about this cart are:

  • Small foot print -- It takes up only 12 sq ft.

  • Mobility -- casters makes moving around easy even when fully loaded.

  • Holds sheet goods on one side, scrap bin on another, and full length lumber in between.

  • Top can be used as shelving.

  • The plan even had one end of the cart be a clamp carrier, but I decided not build it for now. I can always add it in the future.


    Now, a few lessons learned from building this that wasn't really highlighted in the book. One, it's not easy to do this alone. It's possible but will take a lot longer. The cart is very heavy so when the author says to flip it to its side to install the caster it really takes two people.

    Two, among the tools needed, I would throw in a nail gun. It helps to hold pieces in place during assembly. It's not essential, but helps a lot.

    Three, have a good set of clamps handy. In the book it showed the use of just a couple of quick clamps but have some larger parallel clamps handy since wood isn't precision materials and will not just "fit". The clamps help to hold the pieces together while you screw things together.

    I really enjoyed building this especially since the end result is very functional and useful. The garage is a lot less cluttered now and I can actually get access to my materials again!

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Week 28-29: Garage door, flooring, cabinets and island

    Hard to believe that we're down to our final month, but the final inspection is right around the corners. This past two weeks saw the completion of the hardwood floors, the installation of the cabinets and kitchen island and the arrival of the garage doors and appliances. In addition, the water heater and driveway started to go in. It's so close that I'm starting to taste it!

    The weather has put a slight damper on things which meant that we haven't been able to finalize the exterior colors. We know what we want, but have not been able to see a sample since the wet weather has kept them from putting up a sample. We hit one snag with the pavers we picked for the driveway which got discontinued so it's back to finding another set of pavers.