Stevus.com

Steven Wright

Written by Steven Wright who lives and works in Sacramento building useful things.

CordCrafted Released!

Sat Jun 20 2020

Go check out this shop I made to buy Paracord Koozies, CordCrafted. I’ve been making these for a while now and ended up just putting up a simple store. I’ll add some more details later but wanted to let you all know for now.

My First Homebrew

Sat May 23 2020

I was given a home brew kit many years ago for a Christmas present, and made it the following year I believe. It was an American Ale, and made a gallon batch. I was really excited of this undertaking as I had always envied the homebrewers out there and the delicious beers they came up with.

Preparation was lengthy and was not understated by all of the literature with the homebrew kit. I had a packet on sanitizing powder that I used to soak all of the equipment in prior to usage.

homebrew 1 prep

I wasn’t sure if I was doing this right and probably sanitized too much since I was really just worried about dirtiness spoiling my beer. The process probably took me longer than necessary but I guess better safe than sorry. One thing I wasn’t really prepared for was having a deep enough container to soak everything in.

homebrew 1 prep 3

The whole process of mashing the grain, and then chilling it was alot of hurry up and wait, mixed with ample assurances of “am I doing this right?” and “yep, I’m sure it’s going to taste terrible now”.

homebrew 1 mashing

When it came time to chill the wort I had made, I was lucky enough to have a ton of ice in the freezer. I hadn’t planned for this step as well as I should and it totally could’ve gone bust. Luckily the sink was empty and the icemaker had done its job earlier that night.

homebrew 1 wort chill

At long last, the labors of brew day are complete and I am now ready to sit back and watch my beer ferment for 2 weeks.

homebrew 1 finished

After 2 weeks had gone by, it was time to bottle my beer. The kit I used came with a regular gravity siphon, which I had a heck of a time getting a consistent flow. There was also the problem of sucking in the fermented wort and having to spit out wasted beer along with it. Not pleasant.

homebrew 1 removing labels

The first thing I needed to do was go about collecting bottles. Being a fan of Pliny the Elder, I saved several bottles. I’m not sure if it was something specific to Pliny bottles, or if I was just taking the labels off the wrong way, but this process was super time intensive. I can see why people just buy bottles but that just seemed wasteful. I drink beer to make beer and vice-versa.

All in all, my first batch of beer was a rousing success. Now all it needs it a cliche name, and an obnoxious logo.

homebrew 1 capping

College PC Refresh Project

Sat May 23 2020

Before going to college, I saved up some money to do my first PC build, back when that was a thing and becoming popular with nerds.

My goal was to build a PC meant for gaming in the dorms since I was anticipating a heavy gaming community, which was pretty accurate.

That was back in 2002 when the parts I bought were nearly top of the line. I actually was able to find notes on what I used and the machine had a Pentium 4 3.2GHz CPU along with and ASUS P4C800 Deluxe motherboard, along with 4 x 1GB of PC3200 DDR memory, and a GeForce 4800 Ti 4800. I was very proud of this build when it came off the assembly line in my bedroom. If I remember correctly, all of the parts ran around ~$2,000 at Frys Electronics.

However, time took its toll, and I was forced to make some “upgrades” to it which really just meant fixing things to make it work so I could edit Word documents. Even Fry’s Electronics doesn’t exist anymore in the same fashion it did back in the early 2000’s. Everything now is NewEgg or Amazon, along with PC PartPicker.

Since the machine had suffered from years of neglect, the motherboard and CPU had gone out, and I was too cheap to buy new equipment in the same price bracket as the former components.

Basically what exists now is the bare minimum to run: a Celeron D CPU and an Abit IS-10 motherboard with 2 * 512MB PC2700 DDR memory.

Now that it’s 2020 and these parts are woefully underpowered, I’ve since had the idea to repurpose this machine to be a media server or something that can function with minimal CPU utilization.

Intel Celeron 2.66GHz 256K cache 533MHz FSB CPU

I’m not going to be breaking any speed records with this thing.

dirty cpu 1

This thing has sat in a closet or in the garage for years, and I think I’ve maybe turned it on 2 or 3 times since 2008? The CPU thermal paste is solid. Good thing I didn’t try to start it up. I’ll definitely have to add new paste before I try to use this again.

dirty cpu 2

Intel Socket 478 HeatSink Cooler Fan

The stock Intel CPU cooler was in pretty good shape, and just needed to be cleaned up. I also had to scrape off the old CPU thermal paste. I ended up breaking one of the clips on this thing at some point so I’ll either have to find a way to glue the broken pieces back together or, shrug, buy another one.

cpu cooler

Western Digital 100GB HDD

The 100GB HDD I had with this thing is still hopefully good and doesn’t have any bad sectors. It looks to be in good shape.

hdd

ABit IS-10 Motherboard

With basic CPUs come basic motherboards. This beast is an actually a MicroATX board and doesn’t use all the right standoffs, so it wobbles everywhere =/. Sadly I don’t think I wanna go down the road of finding an old motherboard to support a Celeron.

mobo

Corsair 512MB DDR 333MHz Memory

No that isn’t a typo, it’s actually just “DDR” =(. 512MB of memory isn’t going to get me very far, so I imagine I’ll have to order more. The Abit motherboard supported a max of 2GB so I’ll go on eBay and pick some up.

memory

Bestec 250W 12v ATX Power Supply

Upon testing the power supply, it made some clicking noises and failed to power a simple case fan so I can reliably say this thing is fried. At 250W anyways, who cares. I’ll go pick one up from Amazon for $15 and hope nothing else breaks =/.

This is also a 20 pin ATX power supply and most of the ATX ones out there now are 24 pin, so I need to find one that has a 20+4 pin configuration.

psu

Radeon 7000 64Mb Graphics Card

Not sure what happened to the GeForce card…

video

My COVID-19 Preparedness

Fri Apr 10 2020

I would say my exposure to COVID-19 (informational, not biological haha) started on the trip to Japan for my honeymoon.

On the plane ride to Tokyo, I think I wore an N95 mask for most of the whole flight. This wasn’t at all comfortable and made some noticeable marks on my nose.

When I returned home, I converted to wearing cloth masks, and eventually no mask at all (shame!).

covid 2

Initially, I got worried that we, as a society, would collapse into some sort of apocolyptic scenario where the grocery stores are empty and you can’t ever go outside. Thanks mass-media.

Fortunately for everyone, that hasn’t happened. The only real victim here is the economy and the 35+ million people that are out of job now. Holy crap!

One thing that came of this is my wife and I are even more prepared now than we have been.

We have a ton of hand soap, lots of canned foods, and we already had a 1-2 month supply of toilet paper since I always buy in bulk regardless.

Genda v2.0 Released!

Thu Mar 19 2020

In my spare time, I’ve been developing this web app, Genda. This is an app I have been working on since I started learning React and Redux. It was mentioned to me the best way to learn something was to make something you can use with it.

The most common example I could find on learning React and Redux was to make a simple ToDo application. I also saw how many bad ToDo apps there were out there, professional and amateur, so I thought why not make my own?

I never knew that my original idea would turn into something as polished as this. I’m really proud of what Genda has become and I’ve got a lot of features I’d like to add to it in the future.

Genda v2.0 Released!

Thu Mar 19 2020

planetcalc.com/8634

Rectangle Packing Problem