Home Improvement Tool Tips

Cutting curves in ceramic tile, plywood, and plexiglass / acrylic

Cutting straight lines in ceramic tile is easy with a tile saw. But cutting curves, e.g. for toilet drains, can be tricky. Diamond hole saws are expensive. Instead, use a rotary tool (e.g. Dremel) with either a tile cutting bit or a tile cutting wheel.  Or, use a jig saw with a carbide grit blade. You can also cut wood and plexiglass using the appropriate bits as well.

Drilling a hole in ceramic tile

Drilling a hole in ceramic or porcelain tile can’t be done with a regular twist drill bit. Use a diamond or carbide-tipped masonry bit. To keep the bit from slipping off the glossy surface, put masking tape on the surface.

Cutting drywall

Cutting drywall can be done manually with a drywall saw but you can also use a power tool. Though oscillating tools and reciprocating saws can do the job, they won’t give a fine cut. Instead, use a rotary tool with a drywall bit.

Trimming drywall

If you cut drywall that is slightly too large to fit an opening, instead of trying to trim it with a utility knife or saw, use a rasp plane.

Measuring long distances by yourself

Put a nail into one end of the distance you want to measure. Put the end of the measuring tape into that nail to keep the measuring tape end in place. Pull the measuring tape end into the nail and pull.

Drawing circles

Put a nail into the material at the center of your desired circle. Hook the end of a tape measure into the nail. Hold a pencil against the tape measure at a distance equal to the radius of your desired circle. Rotate the measuring tape to draw a circle.

 

 

Using JavaScript to Temporarily Prevent Clicks and Form Submissions

When you test interactivity of a web page by clicking a link or submitting a form, you sometimes don’t want to be redirected to a new page. Using JavaScript in your browser’s console, you can easily make this happen.

  1. Open your browser’s inspector and inspect the element (link or button) that when clicked on, won’t take you to a new page
  2. In your browser’s console, add the following JS
$0.addEventListener("click", function(e) {
     e.preventDefault();
});

How to F*$%-ing Hide Content in HTML Emails in Outlook on Windows!

Here’s how you f*$%-ing do it! Just wrap the content you want to f*$%-ing hide in this client-specific conditional.

<!--[if !mso 9]><!-->
This will not appear in Outlook on Windows.
<!--<![endif]-->

Since you’re probably using HTML tables to structure your emails, and you’re probably using CSS classes to hide and show different duplicate content for desktop and mobile, your code will probably look something like this:

<style>
.showOnMobile {
    display: none;
}
@media screen and (max-width:684px) {
    .showOnMobile {
        display: block !important;
    }
}
</style>
<!--[if !mso 9]><!-->
<td class="showOnMobile">
This will not appear in Outlook on Windows.
</td>
<!--<![endif]-->

There you have it. Now go and do something useful with your time instead of f*$%-ing around with HTML emails all f*$%-ing day long!

Use PHP’s Built-in Web Server for Quick, Local Development

I recently need to build a simple PHP script but I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time configuring a web server, e.g. Apache. and having it support PHP. It turns out that PHP has its own built-in server and it’s super easy to use. Here are the steps:

  1. Download PHP
    If you’re on Windows, which I was at home, then go to https://windows.php.net/ and download a pre-compiled PHP binary. I chose the latest x64 NTS (non thread safe) zipped version.
  2. Unzip the archive
    e.g. to c:/Programs/PHP/
  3. Open a terminal window
    We start and stop the server from the command line
  4. Go to your project folder
    e.g. cd c:/Documents/Projects/mysite
  5. Start the server
    If PHP is on your path, then you can just do
    php -S localhost:8000
    otherwise, you’ll need to specify the full path to PHP, e.g.
    c:/Programs/PHP/php -S localhost:8000
  6. View your PHP site
    Go to localhost:8000 in a web browser and see your site, e.g. index.php
  7. Stop the server
    Press Ctrl-C to quit

If you want to start the server in a particular document root directory, e.g. c:/Downloads/foo, you can do
php -S localhost:8000 -t c:/Downloads/foo

View the PHP built-in server documentation

cd C:\Users\abdul\Documents\Projects\zabuun.com
C:\Users\abdul\Documents\Projects\zabuun.com>”C:/Program Files/php-7.2.9-nts-Win32-VC15-x64/php” -S localhost:8001

Cleaning Tips

Microfiber cloths (available at Costco)

  • for wiping kitchen, windows, glass, etc

Pressure Washer (available at Costco)

  • clean driveway
  • clean house exterior
  • clean fence

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (available at Costco)

  • clean glass, including hard (mineral) water stains on shower glass
  • clean soap scum on shower tiles
  • clean dirt and soap scum on vanity and sink bowls
  • clean stainless steel appliances
  • clean kitchen countertops
  • clean microwave interior
  • clean faucets

Read More

Working with GitHub and Git Using the Command Line

Create a repo in GitHub

Use the master branch as your production branch. This is called origin/master.
Use the develop branch for development. This is called origin/develop.

Get GitHub clone URL

In GitHub, get the URL to clone, e.g. https://github.com/javanigus/test.git

Go to local projects folder

On your locale machine, go to a folder where you want this project to exist, e.g. /Users/ayahya/Projects/
cd /Users/ayahya/Projects/

Clone the remote repo on GitHub to your local machine

git clone https://github.com/javanigus/test.git

This will create a folder that is the name of the repo, e.g. “test” Read More

Easily Add Music to Video Using Corel VideoStudio

Adding your own music or audio to a video clip is something many people like to do. Fortunately, this is very easy using Corel VideoStudio. Below are steps to add music to a video.

Insert media files, e.g.  a video and an audio file

Read More

Common Residential Electrical Wiring

  • Ground wires always go to ground
  • To see if a circuit is correct, there must be a loop. Follow the black wire from the panel (source) and then through the light or outlet and then along the white wire and back to the panel. If there’s a loop, then it’s correct.

Tool Collection

I’ve accumulated quite a bit of tools now to the point that I sometimes forget what I have so I created a personal tool inventory page.

View My Tool Collection

IrfanView for Batch Image Processing

When you’ve got a bunch of images to process, IrfanView makes the process simple and quick. Here’s an example of how to

  • auto trim / remove whitespace
  • resize images
  • optimize JPGs

Open IrfanView and do the following:

  1. File > Batch Conversion / Rename
  2. Work As: check “Batch Conversions”
  3. Look In: Browse to the folder containing all of the images then click “Add All”
  4. Batch Conversion Settings: choose “JPG”, click “Options”, for “Save as quality” choose 65, check “Save as progressive JPG”
  5. Batch Conversion Settings: click “Advanced”,
    1. check “Auto crop borders”
    2. check “RESIZE”, check “Set new size”, for “Set new size to” enter “750” pixels, check “Don’t enlarge smaller images”
  6. Output Directory: create and choose a different directory, e.g.  a subfolder called “processed”
  7. Click “Start Batch”