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Sunday, August 30, 2015

KH500 Refurbishment - Controls, Instrumentation, Cosmetics

The KH500 has some dings from falling over, and some other road rash.  The aluminum I think can be smoothed with a file and then polished with a wheel.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

KH500 Refurbishment - Fuel/Air System work

I've been taking apart the old 1976 KH500, a bike I've owned since high school, to get it ride-worthy again.  This is not a restoration, just a clean-up and replacement of worn-out stuff, hopefully mainly rubber and plastics.  I'm in the process of taking it apart and evaluating what must be done to get it a) Running and b) Safe to ride.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shop Improvement #4: Moving the stereo receiver

Compared to the previous three shop improvements, this one is pretty minor :)

I recently purchased an old Pioneer stereo receiver and speakers off Craigslist.  I was in a hurry to put them to use, and so I moved some stuff and ran a few wires quickly, so that I could get it working.  Recently though, I got a little annoyed with having to reach so far for the volume knob, and the speaker wires and audio cables looked really tacky.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shop Improvement #3: Installing Safety Rails

The previous owner built a mezzanine into the shop, with some stairs leading up to it.  I've stored quite a bit of stuff up there, but it's always been hazardous, because there was no stair rail, nor a safety rail for the mezzanine area.  A fall to the concrete below would not be much fun.

Shop Improvement #2: Turning the water back on

The shop has a small bathroom, which I've never been able to use.  The reason I wasn't able to use the bathroom fixtures is because for as long as I've lived here, the shop hasn't had heat.  With the lack of climate control, it would be unwise to turn on the water.  In the winter months it would certainly freeze, bursting a pipe and causing water and plumbing damage.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shop Improvement #1: Heating

I just finished a couple weeks off work.  The first part of the vacation was spent at Glacier National Park, which was fun.  It was also pretty crowded, because half the park was off limits due to a fire, and those visitors ended up moving into the remaining open areas.  I will do a post on the park later on.  It's what happened after we got back home from Glacier that made the vacation become useful.

Chain sawing

I'm not a lumberjack, but I do have 5 acres of property, of which about half is woods.  When the weather has been co-operating, I have been trying to make my house safer from wildfires by removing trees that grow very near the house.

Additionally I have been thinning trees and removing limbs up to a high level, as well as clearing brush and slash from the forest floor.  The result is a safer place to live, although definitely not as natural-looking.  This summer, the natural look seems to be "burned up", which I have no interest in.

So I clear trees.

I'm pretty hard on chainsaw chains though.  I have about 10 of them, so that I can get through a couple of days' work without having to make a run to town and have them re-sharpened.

Re-sharpening the chains is a pain in the neck, because I lose at least an hour taking them to town, and then lose another hour picking them up the following day - not to mention the expense...
I have a hand-file for sharpening the chains, which I have never bothered to use.  It takes way less time to simply swap chains and keep cutting, and then take the chains in for sharpening later on.

My time off is limited, and so is weather-friendly cutting time.  When snow is on the ground, you don't want to be clearing the forest, and you can't even burn for about 6 months of the year.  It makes for a narrow time window to cut and burn stuff.

Long story short - Taking a lot of time to sharpen chains didn't work for me.  Here's the solution:

Friday, August 07, 2015

Two-strokes: Light and powerful engines

Let me get this out of the way:  I love two-stroke engines. They are simple, reliable, and powerful. They don't even have to be upright to work properly.  Heh, try that with a four-stroke!  I'm particularly fond of multi-cylinder two-strokes, like those in snowmobiles, older Grand Prix motorbikes, and personal watercraft - they provide lots of zoom without a huge weight penalty.  Two-stroke fans often call four-stroke engines "diesels" - meaning that they are heavy, and best used for slowly hauling around a load of cargo :)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Credit Freeze

On the right column of this blog, you will see a list of favorite websites.  The third one down is a blog called "Krebs on Security".  I highly recommend reading his blog at least weekly.

Brian Krebs was a reporter for the Washington Post from 1995 to 2009, and now is a freelance web reporter.  He is one of the most respected reporters in the field of cyber-crime, and apparently receives quite a few anonymous tips from insiders of credit agencies, banks, and security firms.

As a result of his reporting, he recently earned the wrath of several cyber-criminals.  In one instance, he was "Swatted".  In another instance, an angry mobster sent heroin to Krebs' home from the Silk Road website, with the intent of informing the police he was dealing drugs.  Fortunately Krebs had been monitoring that crime forum, was aware of the plan, and notified the police in advance.

The other thing an angry criminal did was locate his personal data and post it on a crime forum.  The only reason Krebs did not suffer massive Credit Theft is because he had previously taken precautions for this very event.

This is the point where the story starts to involve you, dear reader.

Krebs' opinion is that so many large companies and government agencies have now been hacked that pretty much everyone's personal information has been compromised at this point.  This means anyone reading this is at risk for being a victim of credit fraud or ID theft (which are not the same thing).

I respect Kreb's opinion, and I also respect his suggestions on what you can do to protect yourself.  For those who are interested, he recommends placing a credit freeze with the three major credit rating agencies.

A credit freeze prevents the opening of new credit accounts in your name.  You can unfreeze as necessary to open new lines of credit (say for purchasing a vehicle), and then freeze it again afterwards.

In most states it costs $10 to establish a freeze (for a total of $30 to freeze with all three agencies). All other states cost less, or are free.

Here's the information you will need when you make the calls:
  • Your social security number
  • Street address (just the digits)
  • Date of birth
  • Zip code
  • A valid credit card (to pay the fee for the freeze)
The process is done by following an automated phone menu, which takes about 5 minutes for each freeze.

Below are the agencies to call, as well as their phone numbers.  If you don't trust these phone numbers or links from a random internet blog (I wouldn't!!!!), feel free to locate each of the agencies with a search engine and gather the information for yourself.

Equifax (866) 349-5191

TransUnion (888) 909-8872

Experian (888) 397-3742

The rest is up to you... :)

Missing Blog Images

I've noticed in the last couple of days that several images on the blog are not showing up - including the main image for my Blog!!!  It's a little irritating...

I checked using a couple of different PCs, and tried three different browsers, but the same images came up missing each time.  The images still show up in the original files, but re-publishing them does not make the images appear in the re-post.

These are not copyrighted images either.  Most of them are my own photos.  It's not clearwhat's up, but hopefully Google straightens it out.  I'm dead-certain that Google doesn't have a call center full of helpful people just waiting to help me fix these issues.  Also I don't have a lot of free time, so I'm not keen on trying to figure it out on my own.

If things aren't back to normal in a few days, I will look into it.