Let’s say you want to install a bath exhaust fan in a bathroom that doesn’t have one. You’ll need to cut the wall or ceiling where the fan will go and you’ll also likely need to make holes in the wall or ceiling to run electrical wiring.
In the photo above, you can see that I made two types of openings:
Making a Circular Opening
For the circular opening, I just used a hole saw attached to a drill. The benefit of this is it creates a clean, perfectly circular hole and you can reuse the cut drywall later to patch the hole. This type of hole can be made anywhere – it doesn’t need to be near or over a stud or joist.
Patching a Circular Opening
To patch a circular opening, I use a 1″x3″ piece of furring strip wood.
Drill a screw in the middle of the piece of furring strip and insert the wood into the hole as pictured below. Then, drill 2 screws while pulling the long center screw so that the wood doesn’t move around. Now you’ve created a backing for the drywall to be screwed in to.
Remove the center screw and screw the drywall into the wood.
Making a Square Opening
For the square opening, I like to use a reciprocating saw – specifically, the Milwaukee 12V mini cordless saw because it’s small and lightweight. Use a stud finder to find the studs or joists and draw an outline of the square you want to make such that the square (or rectangle) goes to each stud or joist. Then, try to make a clean rectangular cut so that you can reuse the drywall.
Patching a Square Opening
To patch a square opening, I use a 2×4 piece of wood to furr out the studs or joists to create a backing into which the drywall will be screwed. Pre-drive the screws into the wood a little bit and then clamp the wood to the joists to make fastening the wood piece easier.
In Adobe Character Animator, click File > Import and select the puppet file.
2. Import a green screen
Since we’ll want to overlay the exported character animation on other elements in a video editing program, we’ll want to add a green screen so we can key it out. Create a solid green image (RGB = 0,255,0) the size of the scene, e.g. 1920 x 1080. Then, import it and drag the imported item to the lowest layer it the Timeline panel.
3. Enable Puppet Track Behaviors
We can tell Adobe Character Animator which parts of our face and body to track as we move and talk in the camera. Click on the puppet layer to reveal the Puppet Track Behaviors panel.
The red button indicates that the particular item will be tracked when you move in front of the camera. For example, the Face item, when expanded, will show a red dot by “Camera Input” meaning if move your face in front of the camera, your facial gestures will be tracked and the puppet’s face will move accordingly.
For the lip sync item, the red dot is by “Audio Input” so if you speak, the microphone will capture your voice and convert it into lip movements on your puppet.
For Adobe Character Animator to track your head and lip movements, you need to enable your camera and microphone. You’ll see a circle where your face should be centered in your resting position. Once centered, click the “Set Rest Pose”. You’ll then see a bunch of red dots on your face indicating points where Adobe Character Animator will track your facial gestures.
5. Start recording
Click the red record button. A 3 second countdown timer will begin. Start talking naturally and when you are done, click the red button again to stop recording.
You’ll then see some layers added to the timeline including your voice audio layer.
If some of the layers are longer than the audio layer, e.g. the puppet, Visemes and green screen layers in the screenshot above, trim the scene so the duration of the scene is the duration of the audio. Drag the right end of the gray Work Area bar to the right end of the audio track. Then, right click on that bar and click on “Trim Scene to Work Area”.
Now, your scene duration will just be the duration of the Work Area, in this case 5:20.
6. Preview and export the result
Click the play button to preview the recording. If you are happy with it. you can export it by clicking File > Export > Video via Adobe Media Encoder. This will open Adobe Media Encoder. In the Queue panel, choose a format (h.264) and preset (Match Source – High bitrate or YouTube 1080p Full HD). Then, click the green play button to start encoding.
You will see the encoding progress in the Encoding panel. You’ll also see the video duration as 5:21 seconds as that is the length of the scene in this example.
I recently had to rebuild a bunch of fences on a new rental property. As you may already know, the hardest part is digging the holes and building the frame. This article explains step by step how to quickly and correctly build a fence frame.
1. Run string from one end of new fence to the other end near the ground
In order for the fence to be straight, we need to make a straight line from both ends. Since we haven’t dug holes yet, we put the string near the ground so we can mark where we want the holes for the fence posts to go.
2. Mark post hole locations
Depending on the existence of neighboring fences, we may or may not need posts at the ends. Mark where the post holes will go. Each fence panel between posts will be 8′ long. For marking the locations, you can you use a wood stake, metal stake, flag stake, or spray paint. I prefer using flag stakes.
3. Dig fence post holes
Normally people use 8′ long 4×4 pressure treated wood for fence posts. If you do that, then the horizontal 2x4s (rails) will have to be toenailed into it or secured using metal brackets.
Either way, that’s a lot of work, especially if you later decide to make adjustments. Also, the wood can rot and weaken over time. For these reasons, I just spend the extra money and buy steel fence posts.
The post hole diameter should be about 3 times the width of the post. Since the steel posts are 3.5″ wide, then the hole should be about 10.5″ in diameter.
Post hole depth
The post hole depth should be 1/3 to 1/2 the post height above the ground. Since we want our fence to be the standard 6′ tall, and the steel posts are 7.5′ long, we’ll make our holes 2.5′ deep.
Top of fence
The height of the fence post and the top rail above ground will be 5′. Therefore, the top one foot of the 6′ tall vertical fence boards will be above the top rail. The problem with this is that top one foot portion of the fence boards can warp.
To fix this, you can screw a horizontal piece of wood (2×3 or 2×4) at or near the top of the fence boards on the side where the fence rails are.
Soak the ground
Before digging holes. you’ll want to soak the ground, preferably overnight. This will make it much easier come time to dig. The deeper you dig, the harder the soil. One way to soak the hole locations is placing a tube for concrete where each hole would be. These tubes are 4 ‘ long so you can cut them in half.
To secure the tubes, you can dig a small hole first using a hand digger.
Or, you can just use a jack hammer with spade bit to make a circle the diameter of the tube. The tube would then be inserted into the circle.
With the tube in place, you can fill it with water and let it drain slowly directly where you want to dig holes.
To dig holes, the easiest and cleanest way is to use a gas-powered earth auger. You can rent one from the Home Depot ($55 for 4 hours). You can choose from a variety of auger bit diameters. Choose a 10″ or 12″ diameter auger bit.
When you are digging, if you can’t dig any deeper, then stop and pour water into the hole and let the water drain. You can then dig again.
You may run into roots and rocks while digging with the auger. In this case, you’ll need to cut the roots using a reciprocating saw or break up the rocks using a jack hammer.
4. Insert posts and secure rails
Now that you have 2.5′ deep holes, you can insert the steel posts in them and screw 3 horizontal pressure-treated 2×4 rails between the posts.
Since each hole diameter is about 10″ or 12″ in diameter, and each post is 3.5″ wide, you have room to move each post so that a standard 8′ long 2×4 will fit between each post. Screwing the 2x4s in place before pouring concrete helps ensure the posts are plumb.
5. Plumb and brace the posts
To ensure the fence is straight from one end to the other, tie a string at both the top and bottom of both end posts. Then adjust the position of each post in between and using a fence post level, check for plumb.
To hole the posts in place, brace them using stakes. I prefer hitting a 2′ long steel stake straight into the ground and then screwing piece of wood horizontally between the steel stake and the post. The steel stakes are pre-drilled. There should be two braces perpendicular to each other to hold the post plumb.
Pour the dry concrete mix in the hole up to 3-4 inches below the ground. Then pour 1 gallon of water for every 50 lb of concrete mix. The mix will set hard in 20 to 40 minutes. If you are unsure if the concrete will completely mix with the water, you can divide the concrete and water in half and or a third and work progressively.
You can just accept the default values (unless the defaults are asking you to pay for an upgrade).
Change the theme to the Twenty Fifteen
In the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add Themes and search for “Twenty Fifteen”.
Create a child theme of the Twenty Fifteen theme
Create a folder called mychildtheme or whatever you want to call it.
In the mychildtheme folder, create a style.css file with the following content:
The style.css file tells WordPress to load the Parent Theme’s files after the Child. It will override any styles in the Parent Theme’s style.css file that have the same selectors.
Template:Very Important! This is the folder name of the parent theme. If this variable is not correct the Child Theme will not work.
In the mychildtheme folder, create a functions.php file with the following content:
This code tells your theme to call the style.css file and the parent CSS file.
In the mychildtheme folder, create a screenshot.png file. A theme’s screenshot is the thumbnail image that shows up under Appearance > Themes in the WordPress Dashboard. The recommended image size is 880×660. The screenshot will only be shown as 387×290, but the larger image allows for high-resolution viewing on HiDPI displays.
Upload your child theme
Upload the mychildtheme folder to wp-content/themes.
In the WordPress admin, go to Appearance > Themes in the Dashboard. You should see your theme listed. Click to activate it. In the screenshot below, my theme’s screenshot thumbnail is a picture of a cat.
Any PHP file in your mychildtheme folder will override the same file in the parent theme. For this site, I created some PHP templates so my child theme folder looks like this.
Download all files as a compressed zip file, unzip it, and upload each file to your mychildtheme folder.
Add background images
Search Google Images for large background images. Upload them to your WordPress Admin via the Media page. Make a list of URLs based on what you see for each uploaded image in WordPress.
Whenever you update CSS or JS, make sure to flush the cache to see your changes.
So, in my 2 story house my internet modem is in the family room in the back of the house. The internet comes over coaxial cable by Comcast xFinity 1Gbps. There is a security camera at the front of the house facing the driveway. Every now and then, the security camera would go offline. To spread wifi all over the house, I have the tp-link deco M9 plus AC2200 mesh wifi router (3 wifi access points). The backhaul between access points is wifi, unfortunately. I can’t have a wired ethernet backhaul between access points because running ethernet cable would require opening up walls which is a lot of work. Fortunately, however, there is existing coaxial cabling throughout the house. So, I can use MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) adapters to bridge ethernet over coax so I can have a wired coax backhaul between access points. This allows the wifi signal at each access point to be much stronger than with a wifi backhaul. There are many diagrams and tutorials online but none that I found were clear enough hence this blog post. Below is my setup with a diagram which should make it clear what goes where.
The continuity tester doesn’t work through splitters. Once you’ve tested all cables, you can label them in your junction box like I did below. As you can see, there is a 1 – 2 splitter where the one input is the coax cable from xfinity. The two outputs each go to the master bedroom and family room.
I added a new coax cable to go to the garage but it’s not connected in the picture because I need to add another splitter or replace the existing splitter with a 1-3 (or more) splitter. For MoCA to work, you need a splitter that
is not amplified
goes up to at least 1.5 Ghz (1500 Mhz)
Before and After
You can also bridge ethernet over your home’s existing electrical wiring using Powerline adapters, e.g.
However, these adapters don’t work if there’s a surge suppressor. Also, there’s a lot more activity in your home electrical wiring that could interfere with the signal, e.g. from the refrigerator, hair dryers, air conditioners, washing machines, and other appliances.
At one of my rental properties, I had some really ugly grass on the on both sides of the property and a jungle of weeds in the back. The space was wasted because not could or wanted to use it.
The previous owners (investors) didn’t want to / know how to maintain the property so I was able to get buy it from them at a discount.
I decided to replace most of the grass (weeds) with concrete indicated in neon green below. I wanted the grass at the remaining areas indicated in dark green to be removed at a depth of 3 inches to place 3/4″ Ginger rock / Sonoma Gold rock. I also wanted to plant ten 15 gallon Italian Cypress trees along the eastern fence.
Here’s how the project went from start to finish.
Day 1: Hauling and Dumping Garbage
Day 2: Removing Grass and Dirt
Day 3: Removing Grass, Dirt, and Old Concrete Slabs
Day 4: Installing Wood Boundaries
Day 5: Pouring and Spreading Gravel
Day 6: Compacting Gravel and Installing Rebar and Weed Fabric
Day 7: Finishing Rebar Installation & Watering Yard