YouTube How To Everything

At one time when you wanted to know about something… you looked it up in a collection of books we once called encyclopedias. Parents of the 50’s and 60’s got a set of them when their children were little from a guy who went door to door convincing parents that their toddlers would never make it to college if they didn’t invest in a set. Never mind that by the time said toddler got to kindergarten they would be outdated. By middle school they used them to source their written reports anyway and the teachers were none the wiser (except when you copied directly out of one –dumb idea– they could tell). Then by the time the middle schoolers were in high school, they used the set that was a little newer in the school library and the home versions found their way into garage sales or became handy door stops or a mechanism for pressing flowers. All features that never got anybody into college.

Millennials have never known a world without computers. So if they tell their parents they have gone to “study at the library,” I would be suspicious. Though libraries usually have computers nowadays too. But kids likely have them at home as well. Early in the decade when you wanted to look something up. you could go to Wikipedia (the digital encyclopedia). Now you just Google  a topic and you’ll get lots of data. Tons of it! Probably way way more than you need and you have to shuffle through the ads of those who want to sell it to you, posted a picture of it on Pinterest, or links to numerous blogs that are totally unrelated.

Then God invented YouTube. (Actually it was invented by its founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005, but I like to think God made the world ready for it.) Nowadays if you want to be a music star, you record YouTube videos to get discovered. You want to see the newest viral pet videos (dogs saying “I love you” or cats doing un cat-like things) you’ll find them on YouTube. Even the very word “viral” has gone from indicating a nasty bodily infection to be used more comonly as an indication of a social media comment or video’s popularity. My husband and I have discovered YouTube as handy (desperate) DIYers. You want to know how to do, make or fix anything, you can find a YouTube video for it. Usually there are LOTS of them.

My husband is a welder. It’s a job that he thoroughly enjoys. So much so that when he comes home from working all day, he’ll spend hours watching YouTube videos of welding techniques. So when we decided to remodel the master bathroom it had to be a mostly DIY endeavor. Since we had just finished the kitchen remodel that we paid others to do (except the floor that my husband did), we had run out of funds and couldn’t afford to have the bathroom done which we needed to do because everything leaked and smelled bad. Everything that we’ve done that we didn’t already know how to do (which was pretty much everything except the painting and installing the vinyl plank flooring) we learned watching YouTube –including hanging blinds, installing the toilet, hanging beadboard panels, plumbing the sinks, installing the GFCI outlet and light fixtures, and tiling the shower. We paid a contractor to crawl under the house to plumb the shower because we wouldn’t. There are spiders down there.

A few years ago when we bought and remodeled our last house, we bought several high-end appliances. When we moved to our present “project,” we took the refrigerator and laundry set with us. Recently had issues with both and, of course, the one-year warranty that came with them has expired. The refrigerator’s ice maker was still making ice but refused to dispense it through the door. I googled the brand (Samsung) and found lots and lots of complaints about some defect inherent in the model. Complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears from the manufacturer. One post I read lead me to research the problem on YouTube. Voile! Though I am unable to fix the problem as there are no broken parts, I learned how to “reset” the icemaker and “unstick” the mechanism to be able to get it to function. usappliance_2268_238924793

About the same time as the refrigerator problem, my washing machine decided to quit working too! It’s a Whirlpool Duet that (at the time I bought it) was the top of the line only three years ago. After filling and doing a wash cycle, it would read an error message: E01 and F01, and refuse to drain. So I got out the manual that it came with that basically said to call Whirlpool customer service. Upon doing so, the service agent suggested I see a YouTube video that showed how to determine if the drain hose was clogged which would cause the waste water pump not to function. She sent me the link which I shared with my husband. He took it a step further and did some additional YouTube investigating. He learned how to access a clean out near the pump. You wouldn’t believe what we found in there! Enough change to buy a Big Mac and assorted other stuff. Even a disposable lighter and we don’t even smoke! After chipping away at the sediment that was packed in as hard as cement, my handy hubby reinstalled the filter and put everything back together.  The solution to fixing my “digital” machine was purely mechanical! Now it works better than ever!

Whirlpool Duet

You can complain all you want to about our over-dependence on computers and the difficulty of sorting the true from the untrue. (Our parents used to say: “Don’t believe everything you read!” ) But I can report very good success from learning stuff via YouTube. Really, just common sense.

Virtual Reality

top-10-best-free-online-cloud-storage-servicesLately my computer has been telling me I’ve nearly filled my hard drive. My hard drive is capable of holding nearly a terabyte of data and I was down to less than one gig.  One gig seems like a lot to me. I recall when hard drives went all the way up to three, we thought that was a lot. So what’s all this stuff on my computer now that has eaten up all that space that I thought (when I purchased this computer) couldn’t possibly be used up in a lifetime?

I realized that I’ve had a PC in my home for almost 20 years now and in that time I’ve been collecting music. I’ve had five computers and have lost at least half of that collection due to Windows crashing and having to replace the system (at least once).  (My back up system was a collection of CD’s -that has now long since vanished through various moves and garage sales.) Then I discovered thumb drives… and I lost them… and now I’m hoping I’ll discover them again… wherever they are!  That all changed with the advent of  iTunes. I have all types of music because there isn’t very much I don’t care for. It’s my weakness, my addiction and my indulgence. The only type I don’t care for is most hip-hop or rap. Though my son does, and he downloads it onto my computer as well. I like sharing my music library with him because he’s introduced me to some awesome (non-hip-hop) stuff. I love most of his surfer/skateboarder alternative stuff and he loves my oldies from the 60’s and 70’s.

I also have a lot of photos saved on my hard drive. These are mostly family photos from a collection that was my dad’s taken over much of his life as a professional photographer and salvaged by my youngest brother when Dad passed away a few years ago. He spent months digitizing film media and actual photos. There’s a lot!

So this past weekend I’ve finally invested heavily in “cloud” storage. Not financially — but in confidence and adjusting my faith in something that I cannot see nor touch. Kind of like belief in God, or that one has an actual brain— You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, but you know it’s there and you would have a hard time functioning if you believed it suddenly wasn’t there. I’m a skeptic for sure –about the existence of the Biblical God (not about my brain). In the same way, I’ve been skeptical about cloud storage –not that it exists, but that it would be a trustworthy place to store some of the things that I hold most valuable. I know that the “cloud” is actually a network of satellites orbiting around the earth. My “what if’s” range from atmospheric conditions causing my data to be lost mid transmission to a meteor shower knocking the satellite out of the sky that has my stuff on it! I’ve never heard of these things actually happen to anybody… but you never know.  But what the heck –can’t be any worse than Windows taking a dive or losing my teeny tiny thumb drives… right?!

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So I spent the better part of the weekend uploading the bulk of my precious photos and music library to Sugar Sync and deleting the files off of my hard drive. A huge leap of faith on my part. At first there was this terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach with each deleted hard-drive file. It went easier after a time to the point of monotony. iTunes as expected had no difficulty finding my tunes in the cloud. A side bonus –Sugar Sync has a player too.

In the end, I was able to salvage only 13 gigs of storage. I’m keenly aware that most of the data on the drive is programs that mushroomed in size when I converted from 32 bit Windows to 64. I also have a lot of big programs like Chief Architect that is a downloaded program and takes up probably the most space because it does so much. I’m also estimating that a lot of space is taken up with systems backups and updates that happen automatically. I’m guessing that some of those occurred last night because half of my newly cultivated space was already gone. On the bright side, I’m happy to say the cloud still holds my cherished files.

 

Gadgets

Awhile ago I wrote about a thing called a Garlic Zoom that chops garlic. Now there’s a gadget that peels them for you too.

This morning on The Kitchen (Food Network) was one of my favorite periodic segments where they demonstrate gadgets vs. the old fashioned way (like using a paring knife). Today one of those gadgets was a simple silicon tube that is used to peel garlic. Checking them out on ebay, one can get one for as low as a buck and they come from China. garlic peeler

Now I’ve always done it the old fashioned way with the side of a wide chef’s knife that really is kind of messy, sticky peels stuck to your hands and you come away smelling like a clove of garlic. However, this new garlic peeling method works really slick and the smell is left on the gadget and not on your fingers.

I don’t actually have a garlic peeling tube, but I do have a couple of small silicone objects with which I decided to see if I could get the same results. One was a larger cupcake mold and the other was a silicone jar opening pad that was a give-away from my bank (several years ago). Both of these worked like a charm, though the jar opener worked better and I don’t like the idea that my cupcake mold might forever smell like garlic.cupcake mold

 

With the jar opener pad, I just folded it over like a taco shell and inserted a few garlic cloves inside. Then you roll it just firm enough not to crush the clove. And voile’ the peel comes off like magic sticking to the silicon in small shreds. My jar opener has a textured side that I used against the garlic and it seems to work better than the smooth side. I peeled a whole garlic (with 20 cloves) in less than two minutes. Clean up is a breeze and no more stinky garlic fingers! The jar opener pad can be rinsed under water or even go in the dishwasher if you are worried about garlicky smelling  jar lids. jar opener

I guess the take away from this post is there are lots of ingenious gadgets on the market that are inexpensive and don’t take up a lot of space (like the silicone jar opening pad, the garlic peeler or the garlic zoom). More importantly, you may find things you already have may do the trick nicely.

 

 

Garlic Zoom

800px-GarlicBasketI have to admit I can be a sucker for new gadgets. I have a salad slicer with lots of components sitting in my cabinet that I’ve never used because it just seems so fussy to bother with. Most of the gadgets I see can really be replaced with a single sharp knife. So who needs ’em?! Right?

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Well, last weekend on the Food Network channel’s new show The Kitchen they reviewed some gadgets and one of them was a little object with blades inside with wheels called a Garlic Zoom. It seemed kinda silly. Then while at Ross a couple of days after viewing the show, there was actually one on the shelf for a little less than $6. I thought why not do my own test to see if I would agree that the best solution for chopping garlic is still a good sharp knife as indicated by the show. So at worse I  would be out the price of a latte and one more piece of junk stuffed in my gadget drawer.

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Imagine my surprise when the thing actually worked! You do have to take the skins off of the garlic cloves. And I do that with the side of my chef’s knife cracked against the side of the clove –so I guess I still need a knife for that part. But that’s all –then just stuff the peeled clove in the top of the little door on the gadget. Then you just roll it on the counter and the little chopping knives in it go to work creating a nice mince. 41r3vWHFdLL31kKmlJdNwLEasy Peasy!

You can see in the bottom picture there is a bigger door that opens to get the chopped garlic out and makes it easy to clean. Just rinse it out  but be careful of the little knife gizmo inside that comes out as it is pointy and sharp!

I’d say the co-hosts on The Kitchen missed the mark on this one. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and is tiny so it doesn’t take up a lot of storage space. I would highly recommend it especially for those with difficulty mincing with a knife which happens when people get older (than the co-hosts on The Kitchen). The Garlic Zoom gets a big thumbs up from me!

IMG_0001[1]It worked pretty good on a serrano chile too. I just cut the stem off and cut it into thirds and popped it in. I use the seeds because I like them hot. Pretty much anything bigger wouldn’t work so good because this gadget is tiny and you need to use a fairly firm chile to get it to work.

FYI… they sell for closer to $10 on Amazon plus shipping. I’m not sure I would have bit for that price. I got mine at Ross when they just happened to be stocking the shelves with a new shipment of kitchen stuff.