Stereo vs Surround Sound

A lot of people don’t really understand the difference between stereo and surround sound and usually just assume that surround sound is better. Based on my research, here’s a summary of the differences.

Surround Sound

  • Intended to hear some sounds at different places around you, e.g. an ambulance zooming by in which case you’d hear the siren begin from one side of a room and end on the other
  • Most surround sound systems involve 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer (5.1 system). For long rooms, there may be 7 speakers and 1 subwoofer (7.1 system).
  • Surround sound is most often noticeable in action movies, e.g. you can hear explosions behind you. Surround sound is subtle in drama movies, e.g. you might hear the leaves moving in the background and some traffic in the distance.

Stereo Sound

  • Very little music is recorded in surround sound.
  • Stereo systems require a front left and front right speaker.
  • Stereo creates a sound-field that, more or less, is shaped like a performance stage that is situated in front of you–as if you’re sitting in a theater. Surround sound does too but adds sound at the top, back and sides of you.

Continue reading Stereo vs Surround Sound

Easy Way to Texture Walls and Hide Imperfections

I hate texturing walls. Not because I don’t like how most textured walls look (knockdown texture), but because I can never texture a wall to look close enough to how the pros do it and I don’t like having to wait some period of time and trying to knock down the texture compound using a trowel or knockdown tool. After researching various ways to texture a wall, I conducted an experiment and came up with a process and set of tools that I think make it really easily to texture a wall and have it look nice and close enough to professional knockdown-textured walls.



I used a drill attachment to mix the texture compound until it became creamy. Then, I painted the texture compound on the test 2’x2′ drywall using each type of applicator.


Continue reading Easy Way to Texture Walls and Hide Imperfections

SEO: Free, Credible Backlinks to Your Website

Search engines, particularly Google. consider two primary things when it comes to search engine ranking:

  • Relevant content
  • Credible backlinks / Inbound Links

Relevant content

This one is easy. Just write relevant content. The more, the better. As long as it’s content people actually care about.

Credible Backlinks

This is not easy because you depend on getting other reputable websites linking back to you. Below are different ways to get backlinks. This list will be updated as new discoveries are made.

  • PR
    Getting news outlets to write a story about you is the best way to get credible backlinks but it’s not easy. If CNN had written an article about your website and the article links to your website, you’ll get a boost in search engine ranking. You can hire a PR agency (expensive) or do PR yourself by reaching out to journalists and pitching your story to them. The topic of PR can take up a whole book so I’ll it at this. Basically, if you have a good story, e.g. new product/service launch, new feature launch, etc, you can tell journalists about it who represent news outlets that cater to news related to your story, e.g. a new technology product would be pitched to a technology blog (e.g. TechCrunch).
  • Write your own articles
    There are credible websites that let your contribute content, e.g. how-to guides, that also let you link to the source of information (your website).

  • Video Websites (YouTube, Vimeo)
    These websites will let you add a link to your website in the description section of your video
  • GitHub
  • Pinterest

Continue reading SEO: Free, Credible Backlinks to Your Website

Auto-Play/Stop Music (MP3) When You Turn Lights On/Off

Here are some detailed steps for rigging an MP3 player and connecting it to your lights that are powered by a light switch so that whenever you turn the lights on or off, music will play or stop.


  • Ability to play music (mp3 files) from a USB stick or SD card
  • Ability to play music from where it last played (This particular system will play from the beginning of the last song played. If you turn off the lights in the middle of a song and then turn the lights back on, the mp3 player will play from the beginning of that song. Fortunately, it will not start over and play from the beginning of the first mp3 file on the USB stick or SD card.)
  • No need to push a play or stop button to control music. As soon as there is power to the mp3 player, the device will scan for mp3 files and start playing from the beginning of the last song played.
  • Ability for set volume and remember the volume setting
  • Wired power. No need to replace batteries.


  • NiZHi TT-028 MP3 Mini Digital Portable Music Player Micro SD USB FM Radio ($11)
  • Extension cord ($2)
  • 5V, 1A USB Power Adapter (you probably have some from old cell phones or USB devices laying around the house)


  • Wire stripper
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Small screwdriver


Read all instructions at least once before proceeding.

The instructions below show how I installed this in a bathroom.

  1. Using a utility knife, pry open the face of the player.

    UPDATE: Apparently you can just use a utility knife and peel off the plastic LCD cover as it’s just glued on. This is easier and doesn’t cause damage to the device.

step1 Continue reading Auto-Play/Stop Music (MP3) When You Turn Lights On/Off

WINDOWS: PHPloy to incrementally deploy Git-Based file changes over S/FTP

* Git 1.8+
* PHP 5.5+
* Update the Windows paths below to match your system

Install PHP
If you don’t have PHP, follow the instructions at

Install Git
If you don’t have Git, you can install GitHub Desktop for Windows. Download and install the application from
This will create a GitHub folder at C:\Users\David\Documents\GitHub in which you can put your website files. Continue reading WINDOWS: PHPloy to incrementally deploy Git-Based file changes over S/FTP

Some Options for Scraping Web Pages

Node.js + jQuery–net-22478

This tutorial shows how to use Node.js with the Express web server framework, the Jade template engine, and the JSDOM parser. You may prefer the Handlebars template engine. This tutorial also includes use of the node “request” and “url” modules.

Continue reading Some Options for Scraping Web Pages

Tasty Lentil Soup Diet (using a Slow Cooker)

After eating lentil soup 4 -7 days a week for dinner, I have found that I’ve been able to easily lose weight without feeling deprived. The easiest and most lost term way to lose weight is by changing your diet, not exercising. Exercising is better for toning and strength and takes a lot of time. In order to effectively lose weight by changing your diet, the following conditions must be met:

  • you must enjoy the food you eat so you don’t feel deprived of eating food you like
  • you must feel full when you eat low-calorie food
  • the food must easy to prepare and cook
  • the food must be affordable

Fortunately, lentils will make you feel full, are very easy to prepare, and if prepared right, can taste very good, and are super cheap. Unlike other legumes like red beans, lentils do not need to be presoaked. I try to eat healthy during the week and use the weekends to eat whatever I want. For me, current food consumption for a typical weekday is

  • Breakfast (at home)
    • blueberry granola cereal with almond milk
    • bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles
  • Lunch (outside)
    • pretty much whatever I feel like eating (burrito, pizza, kababs, sandwiches, chicken tikka masala, etc)
  • Dinner (at home)
    • the lentil soup described below

Continue reading Tasty Lentil Soup Diet (using a Slow Cooker)