Of blasters, and droids. (a work in progress)

2049

I’ve seen the Future. I can’t afford it.

It seems like everyone is in an Arms Race these days...

Click to view larger

Weirdness in Windows 10

This Is Why We Use Linux.

Recently for kicks and giggles I installed Windows 10. I was pleasantly surprised with a much more desktop oriented system (compared to 8) and a few nice features Windows has been lacking (like multiple desktops).

However, since the product was made by Microsoft, there is some weirdness. When you open file explorer it is supposed to take you to the “Home” screen which looks something like this:

Not Too Bad I Suppose

But for some reason mine looks like this after the latest update:

Dat Link.png

I don’t think I did anything to break it, but broke it is. After messing around in the registry trying to get something (or anything) to show up in my home, I gave up. I never use the “Home” anyway. However it was really annoying having it default to something useless.

##This Is Where Things Get Complicated

So I set out to have it default to “This PC” which is slightly more usefully than my empty “Home”

###NOTE: DO NOT do anything I do past this point if you are worried about messing with things that shouldn’t be messed with. That being said, Windows 10 is in beta anyway, so lets mess with stuff!

I typically launch Explorer from the Start Bar (not to be confused with the screen or Menu) It is always visible, and very convenient. So technically I should just be able to change the shortcut on my bar right?

properties.png

Nope.

Failure.PNG

For some unfathomable reason, Microsoft has made the box I need unclickable (the Target box)

Well what if I just remove that and make my own that I then re-pin?

I just make a shortcut

Shorty.png

and point it at:

Dat Link.png

C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

^That madness is just a fancy way of linking right to “This PC”^

and pin that to my bar!

##Success?

Well. No. For some reason every window you spawn of that link will open up (correctly) bot they won’t do that usefully stack thing. Instead, it opens up next to all you pinned apps, and any other windows opened (from that icon) will obviously take you “Home”

##This Is Where Things Get Really Complicated

I went back and looked at the properties of the original shortcut a little better and you can see (I can’t show pictures of this bit because I already messed with it) that the shortcut doesn’t just link to Explorer.exe (as one would assume) but rather to:

C:\Users\Noah\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools\File Explorer.lnk

A link that links to a copy of itself? um. wat? Upon deleting that link it seems to instead link to another copy here:

C:\Users\Noah\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu\File Explorer.lnk

At this point I really don’t understand what black magic is happening, but I intend to purge it from my system.

So I deleted both of those two .lnk files (the .lnk may not show, but that’s what they are) and I replaced the one in:

C:\Users\Noah\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools\

With my own “File Explorer.lnk” (that shortcut I made before). I can now pin that to my bar and everything seems to be working (as of writing this)

Comments, Questions, or Criticisms? Put it in the comments.

A Crash Course in Leatherworking!

Good thing I got the Leather Working Merit Badge!

###Except not, because that taught me nothing other than how to use stamps…

I have worn leather belts before. I have also wrapped strips of leather around handles to make them look cooler. None of this really prepared me for my latest project. Fortunately it really is pretty simple.

##Epic Back Story Time!

Recently I read this article on TheArtofManliness:

The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook (love that site, go check it out)

Normally I would be kinda, meh. However, in a few short months I will be setting out for the strange land of Piracicaba, Brazil. While there on my LDS Mission, I will no longer be able to carry a phone, tablet, and e-reader at all times. So I decided now would be a good time to become aquanted with the ancient art of “paper”

I bought a bunch of Black Field Notes, and I think they fit the bill. However, I know my back pocket will destroy them (if my wallet is anything to go by).

Soooo Black.

##An Answer Presents Itself Buckle up, this ones gonna get long.

Originally I was thinking of something like this

Super Expensive Leather Cover!

And that would be awesome. Just one problem, I bought Field Notes, Not a Moleskine So I wouldn’t be able to use the cool elastic thing.

No big deal Field Notes themselves sell a few leather covers designed specifically for Field Notes! Wait. They are 85$. Forget it! That is even more than SaddleBack, which is always expensive.

There are a variety of cheap ones on Etsy and the like, but we are looking at at least 40$ and very few are exactly what I want.

###Noah, Why Did You Bother to Show Me all of That?

Well, don’t you see? These are all expensive, or not perfect. There is but one obvious solution! I need to make one myself! (cheaply and in my own idiom)

###But Noah, that sounds hard!

Get of my site. Now.

##Yay For DIY Nonsense!

I decided what I wanted was a leather cover that would hold one book and stay closed without obstructing the cool inside of the Field Notes Covers (they have contact info and a ruler and stuff!) Also a bookmark.

##Mark 0

After some quick sketching I made a (really lame) paper prototype

IMAG0182.jpg

I always start with paper. I figured out the approximate size and that the easiest way to hold the notebook would be with a cord running down the inside spine like a Midori Travelers notebook. Sturdy, but easy to replace.

It's Replaceable!

##Mark 1

Having Determined this, I still needed a way to keep it closed, and a fancy bookmark. So I experimented with a spare (hideous) Field Notes I had lying around.

IMAG0179.jpg

I like the elastic closing (blatantly stolen from Moleskines) and the idea of some sort of twine bookmark. Ribbon bookmarks just end up fraying and creasing and stuff.

IMAG0180.jpg

I also experimented with a Moleskine Style pocket in the back (not that you can see that in the pictures).

IMAG0181.jpg

##Mark 2 ###This Times For Realsys

Firstly let’s talk about leather. It comes in many thicknesses which is traditionally measured in ounces for some odd reason. I don’t have time for that madness, so this came in handy.

Why Ounces???

I used a piece of 2-3oz leather for a balance between thin and stiff.

At some point in this process I stumbled across this (long) YouTube Video, which is similar to what I want.

You can watch the whole thing, or just keep reading.

Cut a piece of leather to the size you want (use a sharp knife. I used 210mm x 150mm (~8.25”x6”) for my field notes sized book, adjust to fit your needs.

Find the center line and punch two holes at the top and two at the bottom, but skip the middle hole

Holes.PNG

(video 9:10-10:30) I used a fancy hole punch but you can also use a leather punch or simply an awl (or anything else sharp and pointy)

The guy in the video does exactly what I want at least as far as the Midori-esque stitching. (11:00-15:00) I didn’t bother with a needle or anything, I just shoved the rope through. Just tie your loose ends, and you have something to insert your book into.

Rope.PNG

I ended up using entirely leather cord (like what they use on necklaces) instead of elastic cord, I tied it nice and tight (but not too tight, or the books wont fit) and it seems to work fine, and look cooler. I also copied his bookmark design (watch 20:00ish). Basically just tie more cord around the top two loops and the excess becomes a bookmark.

IMAG0175.jpg

To round your corners, either cut around something round (metal washer)or just use some nail clippers (have to push pretty dang hard)

IMAG0171.jpg

Figuring out how to attach the elastic was all me. I used this white elastic (instead of black) because it was the only color I had!

I punched two holes in the back cover and tied a simple loop in the elastic. Works like a charm. (Cell phone pics, sorry) My first holes were to close to the edge, and the elastic was sliding off the corners, I would recommend going about 30mm in

IMAG0176.jpg

IMAG0173.jpg

Some detailing with leather stamps to make it mine. I would recommend wiping down the leather with water first (holds the stamp better) and you should just do the whole book to keep the color the same.

IMAG0172.jpg

Lastly I tried to do some edge finishing following this guide. It sure did help, but I had basically none of the proper tools. I will maybe re-visit this part if I get better tools.

I hope this helps someone with similar desires to me. End product is pretty cool.

IMAG0174.jpg

Anti-RFID DIY Duck Tape Wallet of Awesome

The only wallet you will ever need.

I have never been happy with store-bought wallets. Why? Maybe it’s because I’m way to hipster to be using some mainstream store bought billfold. Maybe it’s that I don’t like the idea of paying for something, that is supposed to hold money. What it really boils down to, is that I take pockets very seriously, and I know exactly which ones I want.

##There is a Better Way.

Enter the Duck Tape Wallet. Exactly what you want, nothing that you don’t. Personally this is my list

  • Durable
  • Fashionable (Obviously)
  • Long unshielded pocket (for checks/bus card)
  • Billfold style
  • Clear ID pocket
  • 2-3 Card holders
  • RFID Blocking Interior

Your needs/wants may vary. But with a little creativity you should be able to accommodate whatever configuration your little heart desires. Duck Tape comes in all colors and patterns, and if you want more durability, you could even make it all from Gorilla Tape (I may try this).

Update: Warning! Gorilla Tape does not bend nearly as well as Duck tape. I do not recomend making anything more than one outside layer from it. It quickly adds bulk, and makes it difficult to keep folded.

##Blah, Blah, Blah. Show me How Already!

Okay fine! for starters, you will need to go grab your roll of duck tape (what do you mean you don’t have any? Disgrace.)

God's favorite fastener.

You are going to begin by deciding the dimensions of your wallet. Mine is roughly 4”x 3”, but pick a size you like. Take the width and double it, and ripple the height. Using strips of tape, make a sheet roughly 8”x9” (or adjusted to whatever dimensions you picked)

Diagrams!

As you can see, I also decided to make the back of panel A out of Gorilla Tape (for extra strength) and to sandwich some Aluminum Foil in the B section for RFID blocking for my cards.

Figure Z...

Then simply follow these instructions to get the basic shape. You should end up with a simple billfold style wallet with a check (or other long paper) pocket on the left. Note: If you don’t want that extra side pocket, tape 5 to 6 right after you tape 8 to 9, or simply remove panel A (which may decrease durability).

At this point you should have a 8”x3” strip with the back of “C” facing up.

Last Picture (Probably)

At this point you can add as many card pockets as you want. I have a piece of clear plastic (packing tape folded over on itself can be used) for my ID, and two card holders (Debit, and Bus Pass in my case). Feel free to experiment here, if you carry a lot of different cards, you may want to put more.

At the end of the day, you should have a stylish, functional, customized wallet. That cost you almost nothing but time (assuming you already had tape).

When I get around to constructing my new one I will post pictures of the actual process.

My Pocket Loadout (EDC)

You Can Tell a Lot about a Man by What He Carries in His Pockets

First let me start by saying that the internet needs more EDC sites/posts about as much as it needs more food blogs and cat pictures. That being said, I am much more interested in this than cats or food, so I will anyway.

EDC is an interwebs acronym standing for Every Day Carry. If you didn’t know that you are about to get either:

A) Very Bored B) Very Excited

If you are in catogory A, leave. (we don’t serve your kind!) If you are more of a catagory B kind of guy (or girl) then you should probably check these out after reading my super exciting blog post.

reddit.com/r/edc

edcforums.com

Epic Backstory (Skip/Skim at Your Leisure)

As a kid, I was always galavanting around my huge backyard with my siblings. We had many adventures, we had epic duels, built a treehouse, and founded a small nation in a tree (amoung other things). To be prepared for whatever I might find myself needing out in the woods, I carried a lot of stuff when we played. No one wanted to go back to the house simply becuase you needed a rubber band or a bit of twine.

Knowing this, my awesome parents bought me a utility belt. Seriously. Like the one batman has. I remember it vividly (although I can’t find it on the interwebs). It was National Geographic brand, and had all kinds of pouches and loops to hold all my gadgets and bits. This gift started a lifelong trend of awesomeness.

Since then I have changed what I carry a lot. The kids utility belt is far to small these days, and my needs (and budget) have changed a lot from when I was eight.

My Pocket Loadout

I had never heard the phrase “EDC” until I started reaserching purchases on the internet (then I saw it everywhere). I always referred to my EDC as my “Pocket Loadout” Loadout meaning “(originally military) The set of objects to be carried into battle; all that one needs for a specific purpose” (yay wiktionary!) It seemed a fitting phrase (and way more romantic than “EDC”, right?)

##Shut up and Tell Me What You Carry Dude!

I never stopped loving that utility belt, but my waistline has gotten bigger. Enter the Grab-it-Pack-it Holster I bought mine off Thinkgeek, because a) Thinkgeek is cool, b) It’s cheaper there.

Holster FTW

I freaken love this thing. It can hold all the things. It fits my (cheapo) 7” tablet like it was made for it. Also, that tablet pocket (on the deluxe) is big enough to comfortably fit my tablet and my Nook Simple Touch, which is always nice to have for reading on the go.

The smaller pocket fits most smartphones, and (more importantly) an Altoids Tin! I normally carry my phone in another pocket anyway. So in that pocket I carry my Altoids Tin, which as some of my readers may have guessed, does not contain Altoids. (More on my fancy Altoids tin in another post)

IMAG0149.jpg

In the top long skinny pocket I carry a SOG Powerlock

Multitools Yay!

This Multitool has it’s pros and cons. The tools are pretty average and the locking (on my model) is pretty average-lame. Where the SOG Powerlock really shines is the pliers. These are the best pliers on any multitool I have ever used ever. Period. The “Compound Leverage Technology” (read: gears on top) make it easy to do all sorts of things. I can cut through a penny or twelve gauge wire with very little pressure whatsoever. They also have a crimper in the bottom (for blasting caps or whatever). And the plier bits do whatever you would expect in the plier department. Other notable goodies on the tools are the V-cutter, excellent for cutting paracord, twine, zip-ties, ect. and the 1/4 inch drive. It is like having a full socket set! (provided you have the bits to put on.) Buy this one elsewhere (amazon) if you want a good deal.

Lastly for the holster, clipped on the back of the belt so it hangs into my back right jeans pocket, is my trusty knife. Most recently I have been carrying the Kershaw Blur

I love this knife, tanto for box/letter opening, Serrations for cutting rope and minor sawing, assisted ofen for rapid one handed opening. Also, wicked sharp. This particular model comes in all styles and colors too! Drop point, with or without serrations, go check the site. All that being said, I would carry a different knife every day of the week if I could afford it!

My latest addition, snuggled up against the Altoids tin is the Fenix E12.

Many Lumens. Very Wow.

I needed a more practical (and brighter) light than my last favorite. This light had good reviews so I went for it. I like the size and the brightness, I also love having different modes for battery savings. The fact that it can stand on end is cool, and standard batteries (AA) is always a plus. What don’t I like? I am not a fan of the switch. It is a soft rubber switch, reccesed in the base/lanyard attatchment. I would kill to have this with a solid clickyer button. I can’t seem to dissasemble that part either. That being said, it’s not that bad, and much better than my past lights.

##What? There is More?

Well yeah. There is a whole nother pocket on the left side of my jeans!

I carry a Fisher bullet style Space Pen, as my EDC pen. I love felt tip pens, but The FSP is more reliable and can write underwater, in oil, at crazy temeratures, wierd angles, and even in Space! Also, this model is very small when collapsed, but full sized when open.

It can write in Space!

I decided to get it without the clip after reading bad reviews about the one with a clip, but quickly realized that I need a clip on my pens. It is how I like carrying it (clipped on a pocket) and I was worried I would lose it with it slipping and rolling around erveywhere. Seeing as I had no desire to pay ~5$ for the “official” clip, I began to look for an alternative. In my pen/pencil cup I had a silver Pentech Syntech .7mm mechanical pencil. (top one)

So I pried the clip off and slid it on the FSP. I think I scratched the finish a little (under the clip) but I’m not planning on removing it anytime soon. It seems to be staying on really well with friction alone. I also think it looks more elegant, and less “tactical” than the black clip. (A lot of my EDC looks way to “Tactical”) I used a Dremel attatchment to remove the logo on the clip, and cleaned it up with some fine grit steel wool.

Brush that Chrome!

I think the finished product is pretty sexy. Just saying.

IMAG0150.jpg

IMAG0151.jpg

I never leave my house without a spork. Seem weird? Well I am. If you haver never used a spork outside of a yogurt shop, you are mising out. Those cheap plastic ones are too shallow for a spoon and not pointy enough for a fork. Goes to show that not all sporks are created equal. I carry this with me always.

Two Birds. One Spork.

Deep enough for soup, but pointy enough for meat or pasta. I absoulutely cannot recomend this highly enough. So choice. Mine is from Thinkgeek, maybe you can find it cheaper elsewhere, I have never checked.

I also carry a boring, non picure worthy cell phone and set of earbuds in that pocket. Moving on!

The back left pocket is home to my Duck Tape wallet. I actually need to make a new (picture worthy) version. I have been carrying it for 5 years, and I love it. I highly recomend you DIY’ers out there try this at home! If you put a layer of Aluminum foil in between the Duck Tape it will even be RFID blocking, so no one can skim your cards. Mine is a simple billfold with a clear ID pocket and a card pocket.

I will continue this mini-series with a followup post about what is in the magical Altoids tin, and maybe a tutorial on how to make an RFID blocking, Duck Tape wallet (If there is interest in that)

Comment it you enjoyed this! I realize it got a bit long, but I carry a lot!