Judging!!

In recent contests I  have noticed a trend of seriously weird judging. At first I thought perhaps it's a one off. But now I see that it is consistant and it is seriously worrying, and makes me wonder if there is any point in these contests other than the one with a fan club winning!   Let's start with the Grand prize winner of Valentines contest. Seriously is that the best? It's a basic card. Granted it's nice. But nothing unusual. There are other entries that are way better. Cards and also entries that are not cards. And finalists? ? How can a tea bag get in when some entries that didn't make the finalists are so much well thought of! The same Tea bag is in Pinterest.it is slightly adjusted. Again is it the followers just voting for their favorite fan irrespective of the quality of the instructable.   Moving on to the papercraft contest. This I'm happy to say the grand prize winner is well deserved. The first place was also good!The rest? Let's see; Decopage flooring over a lamp?No way.Lamp deserves the 2nd prize.   A book sculpture where the instructions are pretty basic. Infact there are no documentation of the process of all the main components except for one, where the formation of the tree is shown. For all we know the author could have taken the already made pieces from a bought sculpture and just add it. While simply writing the instructions below. Sorry but I don't think that deserve a prize too (especially the explorer). The Origami Dragon was much better! With propper instructions. The swirly flowers? Again not second prize, perhaps runner up?This persons most projects end up  winning prizes only through her followers votes.I am sorry to say this ,but thats the reality according to my judgement.   Let's see the runner ups! How in the world 2 book binding and a card and the birdcage made it?I don't know! Lets see. Bird cage,loads of precut motives just assebled beautifully. Book binding? Isn't that like so basic compared to some amazing quilling techniques shown in some entries?  The doctor who card? Well I guess there has to be something of doctor who as everyone is so crazy about it!   Now the latest crazy judging.  The Pie decorating contest! That is definitely not deserving for decorating!  Read the comments! Not one comment about the beauty of the decoration! ! Just the recipe. Perhaps you should change the the prize name and make it 2 Grand Prize for recipe.  It is obvious which should win the decoration prize as it stands out! That is what decoration is about. Perhaps the judjes don't understand. This latest madness in the pie contest has forced me to write this.   I think sometimes giving the judging to be done by members might seriously damage the fairness of judging.  What if the judges are devote followers of the finalist? Perhsps then it's an automatic 10? Instead of a yuk   Employees of instuctables please take note of these. It will be so sad if the integrity of the contests are suspect now.There should be impatial judgement.

Posted by HRISH 4 years ago


Favour needed from you all...

My Scout group is trying to get money from an insurance company's Community Fund to replace our dilapidated tents - to buy enough for all our Scouts to camp at once will cost hundreds of pounds we haven't got. All I need from you is a few clicks to add your vote to our group's application. https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/%28X%281%29S%28vys0m5agaunzvpmtgo0c2jrp%29%29/project/view/1319/ Please follow the link, register your vote, and share the link with your family, friends or random people on social media. Thanks, Kiteman.

Posted by Kiteman 3 years ago


£255 for a t-shirt??

Heads up on a really important ebay auction, ending in a few hours. The BBC are raising funds for their new wildlife charity with an auction of favours, trips out with the stars and unique items (such as the sofa from Springwatch). Go. Look. Spend.

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago


TIME FOR THE HAPPY DANCE!

I have a new job! Starting in January, I will be teaching Science at a local high-school. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I ought to say, Instructables featured heavily in my panel interview, and in between the panel and the decision, the Head of Science went and had a browse on the site to see what the fuss was about - the site was a definite count in my favour - thanks folks!

Posted by Kiteman 6 years ago


Pringles ARE Potato Crisps (Chips)

Procter & Gamble will be forced to pay tens of millions of pounds in VAT after losing a legal battle with the (UK) taxman over its Pringles snack.The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Inland Revenue, which maintained that Pringles constitute a potato snack and are, therefore, liable for VAT (tax). The Appeal Court judges disagreed with a previous ruling that the low potato content (42%) exempted Pringles from VAT.See here for BBC article

Posted by lemonie 9 years ago


UK Steampunk Convivium at the Asylum

This weekend 11-13th Sept is the first all-UK Steampunk Convivium at the (former) Lunatic Asylum in Lincoln. I shall be there with some items that have found favour on Instructables, such as my steampunk goggles and flying helmet, but also loads of other makes that I never have time to do instructables for. The weekend is partially ticketed and partially public but we are all going to have the most brilliant fun. Any other Instructablers going?

Posted by greensteam 8 years ago


Crater Cutter kit

My challenge is to produce a reliable 10kV spark generator which will cut me craters with a plasma arc. You can see the general idea on my blog: http://www.wikihow.com/Etch-Your-Own-Crater? The 10kV spark generator is my missing ingredient, so Instructables please step forward with a design! Once running we can re-create any planetary feature by means of Cathodic or Anodic erosion. I believe this is a genuine alternative to the current 'impact crater' scenario, so favoured by astronomers.

Posted by Cigarshaped 2 years ago


ReRapRequest

Do you have access to a 3d printer?  Can you do me a favour? Three years ago, I published an Instructable for a paper catapult, which has had a steady trickle of interest ever since. Recently, Instructables member hintss created files for it to be printed in 3d, but i don't have access to a 3d printer :-( If you have access to a 3d printer, and the time/resources to spare, could you have a look at the files hintss has posted in the comments of the Instructable, and maybe even print one off?? Please?  I'll even create a shiny new patch for you?

Posted by Kiteman 7 years ago


Blue Peter Badge!

It won't mean much (anything?) to non-UK readers, but #2 son's Instructable has earned him a Blue Peter Badge! On a whim, after he got so many favourable comments, I emailed Blue Peter and told them about it.He got the badge in the post today (it's the blue one ), which probably means he was mentioned on the programme, and the site may have been as well (have we had a spike in young UK members?) (I've emailed BP to ask).An absolute mystery to people outside the UK, but a major event in the life of any UK child.

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Everyone loves a good boycott!

Hey! Everyone knows about my Kar98k model. Here's a link! https://www.instructables.com/id/KNex_Kar_98_Model/ Look at the post date. Now look at this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACSK-7oOTfE&feature;=rec-fresh+div-f-5-HM That son of a b**ch stole my gun, and gave me no credit. So i have a favour to ask. Not just to boycott. Infact the opposite. The spam about how it is MY gun. Because it IS. So complain on the vid about how he STOLE MY GUN. Cheers!

Posted by ajleece 8 years ago


Software for designing solar cookers and reflectors for solar panels

Parabolic dishes are favoured because they are "perfect". Unfortunately they are only perfect if they are kept constantly pointed at the sun. In practice this is very hard to do. A better shape would maintain good reflection of the sunlight for a long time without moving the dish.I think I have found useful easy software to help with this design work. It is called art of illusion and you can see my first results and a downloadable scene file to help you get started on step 12 of this instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Make_a_quotcompoundquot_parabolic_solar_cooker/Brian White

Posted by gaiatechnician 9 years ago


Ebony & Ivory - Devil May Cry Guns

 This was my first commissioned prop build as a favour for a friend of a friend. All in all they cost about £15 in materials and took a total of 42 hours to conceive and build (abit longer that expected).  It was made on the base of a cheap toy gun which had to be modified and was then built upon with wood, paper mache, plastic and MDF. There are further step by step photos on my props blog.  I hope you like them.

Posted by Loosewire; SOE Operative 6 years ago


Copenhagen or Many Worlds Interpretation?

Which interpretation of quantum physics do you prefer? Personally I favour the Many Worlds interpretation as it better explains how the particle 'chooses' what state it collapses into, whereas when I consider the Copenhagen interpretation, it makes me think that the particle is deciding, which bothers me, obviously. However, the Many Worlds interpretation throws up many issues, such as the problem of probability (if a universe is created for every possible outcome, the probability of anything is 1, including say, your computer randomly exploding now). Which is quite ridiculous. But still, to me, a better explanation. So your thoughts?

Posted by Rupert95 7 years ago


Contest entry

Dear Inscrutables team! As a member of this forum since 2008, I am desperately waiting for my country to be listed in the valid list of participant countries mentioned on all the contest page.  I want to share my DIYs on this forum and also to enter this sensor contest, but my country PAKISTAN is not yet listed here, rather my neighbour country INDIA is already in the list since last year upon request from Indian members. So, I am again requesting on this forum to please add my country in the list, so many of this lovely DIY forum members form PAKISTAN may participate in those contests. Waiting for your reply with favourable response. Thank you all.

Posted by mjawed 4 years ago


I feel like making some avatars

I feel like i have been less involved in the instructables community lately and i am bored so if someone wants an avatar of something or other that can be made in paint just tell me please because i have nothing to do right now, seriously , you'd be doing me a favour. The first picture is my own avatar and the other two are ones i made for kiteman when he was looking for a variation on his current avatar, if you want them feel free too take if u want, otherwise just send me a pm or leave a comment. -Cheers, Duck

Posted by duck-lemon 9 years ago


Technology student surveys - your input, please.

Some of my GCSE students need online feedback on the theme of "storage". Each link is a separate student's survey, and not all surveys are applicable to all demographic groups. I would consider it a favour if members here could respond to whichever surveys they can, preferably within the next few days, and add any (constructive) feedback in the comments here for me to pass on to them. I may be adding further survey links, if more students get the surveys written by the deadline. Student TH: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C55FHJK Student CL: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=questionnaire_36 Student OM: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CHWP3LL Many thanks. >K<

Posted by Kiteman 5 years ago


Electronic tether to tether my father's rollator to him

My father lives independently but has poor mobility and dementia.  He frequently walks away from his rollator and then gets trapped when he realises he has left it elsewhere in his home.  A physical tether would be impractical and might actually increase his risk of falling.  I think he would benefit from an electronic tether that would sound an alarm whenever he moved more than, say, three feet from the rollator. There does not appear to be a commercially-available product to meet such a need. Giving him a passive RFID tag to wear and attaching a light-weight alarm to the rollator that polls the tag every few seconds might generate a workable solution, but I don't have sufficient experience with RFID to generate a solution in a reasonable time-scale.  I would probably favour CMOS timers and logic over a microcontroller for similar reasons. Does anyone have a project that could be adapted, or expertise that could be applied, to this task?

Posted by okthought 5 years ago


Feature request: mass-mail to subscribers

I have just realised how many people have subscribed to me (over 370!). Since they have taken a special interest in me, I feel I ought to be able to reward them somehow. I would like to be able to send a message to all my subscribers at once, giving them advance notice of ibles etc, to let them get first chance to comment or suggest improvements before I publish it to the general public. Update: the majority of replies seem to be in favour or neutral. (For instance, I currently have two projects awaiting publication that are complete enough for useful comments to be made, but not complete enough to publish properly.) Would you have liked the chance to comment on a project a few hours before everybody else? Or to be able to contribute to it before it is published? Or maybe you want to publish a project that is unavailable to the wider public because it does not meet the site's usual family-friendly standards? Or am I giving the concept of subscribers more significance than I ought?

Posted by Kiteman 9 years ago


Fun and experiments with water - what is your favourite?

We all know that a fight with water bombs or building a water rocket with your kids can be tons of fun. But what about the things that other people might not even know about? A water drop generator for example can produce thausands of volts in electricity! Water can travel up through capilary actions! Water is even used to break massive rocks in cold climates clean and without the need for explosives! Even the simple task of freezing water for ice cubes is now a science of its own for most serious bartenders... One of my old time favourites involving the often weird proerties involved a very small BW TV and a fishtank. After a lot of cleaning and rinsing I placed a TV into a spare fish tank filled with destilled water. Some other tiny tanks were filled for comparison with tap water and other household liquids. Switching a LED on by placing some electrodes in water without a battery was easy to explain as a battery was just created. Showing that copper can tavel from a wire onto a coin was fun too. But most people got really stunned seeing a movie or the new play on a TV under water - after all we just learned water and electricity is a big no no... What is your biggest "trick" or experiment involving water that noone knows about?? I am working on ultrasonic HF/HV experiements trying to figure out why it seems that under certain conditions the water "produces" more energy in the form of gas, steam and light than what is put into the system from the electrical side of things. Once I can replicate some experiments and understand them I will post my results, so give a few decades please ;)

Posted by Downunder35m 7 months ago


Hidden dangers of receips and dockets printed on thermal paper

Ever wondered how these thermal papers for your fax machine or supermarket docket work? Nothing that is printed by fast machines for you these days uses ink when it comes to cheaply producing a parking docket for example. If you played around with these papers you already know they turn black when you apply heat. A soldering iron at low heat makes a nice pencil on them... But what if you pet or kid loves to play with these papers? Often they like do just jast with the receipt for your fast food if found inside the bag ;) Most people would not consider a piece of paper as a health risk, but for thermal paper this can often be a different story. A lot of these papers still use bisphenol in one form or the other to develop the ink from crystal clear to black. Feel free to read up on it on Wikipedia - I recommend it! They also have more info on the thermal paper itself, including alternatives to bisphenol. Although recent studies are in favour of the thermal paper, when handled correctly some also show an increased risk for those dealing with a lot of paper - like the people working at cash registers in a really busy shop. Bisphenol can get into the body through the skin and by ingestion - for example when your kid tries to chew on it. As noone really knows where the paper you got came from it is a guessing game to figure out if it is free of harmful chemicals... So the best option is to avoid exposure when possible. If you know your kids or pets might to try eating some paper then make sure you don't leave any thermal paper around where they could reach it. But there is good news too as more and more countries try to set standards for thermal paper in regards to harmful chemical levels and protective coatings. Cheap paper for almost any priter out there can always be ordered from asia to avoid higher costs of local and safe paper though...

Posted by Downunder35m 1 year ago


Global Warming - Ruling on Documentary

UK Broadcasting watchdog OfCom has ruled that the Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle broke broadcasting rules by implying that GW was not due to human activity.The film's key contentions were that the increase in atmospheric temperatures observed since the 1970s was not primarily caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, and that the modern focus on climate change is based in politics rather than science. It is seen in some "climate sceptic" circles as a counter to Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, and credited with influencing public perception of climate science. It has reportedly been sold to 21 countries and distributed on DVD. GW experts featured in the documentary complained that they were quoted out of context, had not been told of the aims of the programme makers, and some quotes attributed to experts were, allegedly, made up by the reporters."It's very disappointing that Ofcom hasn't come up with a stronger statement about being misled," said Sir John Houghton, a former head of the UK Met Office and chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific assessment. "I know hundreds of people, literally hundreds, who were misled by it - they saw it, it was a well-produced programme and they imagined it had some truth behind it, so they were misled and it seems Ofcom didn't care about that," he told BBC News."The programme has been let off the hook on a highly questionable technicality," said Bob Ward, former head of media at the Royal Society, who played a prominent role in co-ordinating objections to the film. "The ruling noted that Channel 4 had admitted errors in the graphs and data used in the programme, yet decided that this did not cause harm or offence to the audience." Plaintiffs accused the programme of containing myriad factual inaccuracies, but Ofcom says it was "impractical and inappropriate for it to examine in detail all of the multifarious alleged examples... set out in the complaints." On another issue - whether contributors to the programme had been treated fairly - Ofcom mainly found against Channel 4 and the film's producer WagTV. Former UK chief scientific adviser Sir David King had been misquoted and had not been given a chance to put his case, the regulator said. Ofcom also found in favour of Carl Wunsch, an oceanographer interviewed for the programme, who said he had been invited to take part in a programme that would "discuss in a balanced way the complicated elements of understanding of climate change", but which turned out to be "an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance". The film alleged that the IPCC's scientific reports were driven by politics rather than science, and Ofcom ruled the organisation had not been given adequate time to respond. Full BBC article, plus links

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Vulcan Flies!

The last air-worthy Avro Vulcan Bomber is flying again!After seven million GBP, and countless hours of work, XH558 is again in the air, and has completed weeks of tests and trials, and her crew are anxiously waiting for the permit to fly.This is wonderful news, and genuinely emotional. Vulcan is an absolutely beautiful aircraft, and I was privileged to be present at almost her last flight near Manchester well over a decade ago.I have no idea what preceded Vulcan in the airshow, because all the time the preceding act was show, Vulcan was flying in a holding pattern over the Pennine hills. Whatever was flying in front of me, all I and many of the crowd had eyes for was this shark-like presence circling on the horizon, like a predator haunting a reef.When she came closer for her actual show, it was one of the few times I have gotten genuinely emotional over a machine. Her grace, power, lines...I'm even getting a lump in my throat as I type.It is one of the highlights of my life to have been there when the Vulcan crew, believing she was about to be pensioned off forever, broke air-show rules and flew over the crowd, at low altitude, with full afterburners on.It was the loudest sound I have ever heard, explosions included. My ears actually shut down. As she went over, I screamed and shouted with sheer joy, and I could not hear a noise I made!After she passed, as hearing slowly returned, I realised that it was still noisy - every single car alarm was sounding, triggered by the noise of Vulcan's passing. There were a lot of cars.It's been years since then, and it still stands clear in an otherwise patchy memory.I am literally bouncing at the idea that I might get to see her in the air again.UnfortunatelyBut there's a hitch. They've spent millions already, but they need more. Simple day-to-day maintenance costs, plus the rising price of fuel, mean that it will cost upwards of 50,000GBP per month to keep XH558 in the air. That's a lot.I don't normally do things like this, it's close to genuine spam, but I'm asking you all a favour. As Makers, lovers of the art of machinery, I'm asking you to contribute.Donations should be sent to VTST, Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 5QS, United Kingdom, or by ‘phone to (44)116 247 8145, or online at http://www.vulcantothesky.com .If you don't fancy sending cash, you could buy something from their shop.Donation web pageThat's it, folks - begging over.

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


link to parts in 'ble for easier search and categorisation

Hello fab fun instructable people, I would like to see instructables linked to their basic ingredients. This way, when I englishly search for vhs and get 1.5 pages of hits that don't have anything to do with vhs's, and then search for vcr and get over 5 pages of hits, I can instead... go to a page, and 1) look at the main basic ingredients that instructables are based upon, 2) reading through them at my leisure, and 3) can think up a new 'ble that has not been done before. Lets say this another way. Looking up at the menu bar, I would like to click a link that says ingredients, that will take me to a page, that will list 50 items (configurable from user profile) which are said to be the main components of an instructable. Clicking on one of these items will take me to another page, which will show that item/component with instructables that have chosen to build with that item/component. So here there will be a list of recipes with said ingredient in. From this list I should be able to read up on all the 'bles marked as having the american vcr tag, which may or may not also have the european tag of vhs. Can I say it again? Let me try. The way to do it with drupal: So if each 'ble is marked with a tag (taxonomy = drupal) this tag is a new field that is attached to each instructable. Each 'ble can have many tags. So this tag can be seen as being a multiple field of parts or ingredients which may be added to an 'ble listing, if he author wanted to be thorough. Next, a 'view' could be created listing all the tags/ingredients/parts used. This view is the main content, and could show on a page a number of items. Each item comprises of a picture of a generic item, item description and item title. The picture can be 48x48pixels, thus allowing for a good pageful of items. Users could have options in their profile to show number of items per page, and to show icon size preference, and say have a small icon view with the 48px icon view, and a medium with 120px, and a large with 200px, maybe for each page of results. So the results page is different from the item/category page. On this item page as on the results page will be the previous and next links, plus also the usual panels that exist on the side and the footer, and of course the header. Essentially the content is what the view is. Clicking on one of these items, will take a user to a search page, listing all items tagged with that specific term, i.e. vhs or vcr or both (you could put a rule saying tag anything with a tag of vcr with the vhs tag, or you could keep them separate, and have both items in the 'view', adding that one is americanised and the other is anglocised with some kind of footnotes). This may open up instructables to be multilingual at some point in the future too, if that was ever something to look forward to the future for. Now, somehting irrelevant to the above idea from happening: if you think I raise a valid point, cool, I would like to be put forward for charity membership, and have myself seen as exempt from having to pay for pro membership. I do not expect this. IDEA* this is another great thing you can add to the site. If possible, tell me so - and then I can make an instructable based on doing charity work not necessary for any return favours, but as an altruistic form of behaviour, and gain credit towards another kind of mem'ship, maybe even community service. I do a lot of charity work, helping others in need, and for people who would like to give but haven't enough to support themselves, or believe that people in Africa or elsewhere have more of a need than themselves getting pro mem'ship, I think that allowing people to have the option may solve grey areas, for instance, where some people who do not fit the 'pro' mold could fit into. I love this site, and I love you guys and girls for doing such a fab job. I wish I was part of the team. Hal p.s. Pro Members should be able to change their nicknames, or have more than one that is hidden from others.

Posted by Advocat 8 years ago


Turbine generator with heat pump

I got another weird idea that I like to share as I don't see me putting into reality anytime soon but someone else might do it for me after reading it ;) If you like me and call home where it is far too hot for most of the year you might have wondered how to cut the energy bills down. Especially if you in a remote area "off the grid". Sounds interesting? Then just do me the favour of posting here if you plan to put into reality and keep us updated ;) Technology has come long way and with some mirror like Mylar foil anyone can build big reflectors to use the sun for heating all sorts of things. Modern solar hot water systems are designed to produce a temp high enough to kill all harmfull stuff that might otherwise grow in our system but we can one step further: (Keep in mind it is just an idea with no prototype to proofe the concept works as expected!) Using heat pipes in a round reflector that is linked to solar tracker would allow us to boil water for as long as the sun is out there. Don't know if the flat types used for hot water systems are capable of producing steam but someone might have an old one at hand and is willing to test it on a sunny day? Anyway, assuming we can build a large enough array of solar ovens heating water pipes it is possible to drive a turbine with the steam. A linked generator of suitable size would now provide the electricity we might need to charge batteries or to power other things. But of course this would be total waste of the remaining energy in the steam! Plus we could really need some airconditioner, don't we? So in my vision we don't want to waste the water either, which mean we not only use the heat but also reuse the water to go back into the solar oven. If we now use an uscaled version of our RV fridge and instead of a heating element or a flame our remaining heat from the steam we can power a big fridge and an airconditioner on the same continous-cycle-ammonia-fridge type to cool what we need. Depending on the size and insulation rating of a house it is possible to be totally independent from the power grid during the sunny times. During the winter times the same generator can be combined with a ducted heating system where the waste heat of it is used to produce the steam we need. Of course integrating this into one unit would be the prefered option to keep the physical dimensions small. Combine all this with some good sized battery backup and inverter system and you might have enough juice to spare to make it through a cloudy day or two. Add some wind generators if you are in a suitable area to provide additional electricty. I think with new parts and some handy work it should be possible to create such a system for under $3000US. With access to some well sorted scrap yards even for free, not counting consumables, selants and so on... Sadly I don't own a house and currently not even have a garage to set up a little workshop so for now it stays an idea only... Tried to find some sponsors or at least people with interest to create something like this down here but it is like trying to explain quantum physics to a hundred year old in the retirement village. Sure, you can build something that would give me electricity and cooling for free? ... Of course it will work, so come back and show me once you made it.... If that crap could work, why are still buying fridges that run on electricty and airconditioners that drain our bank accounts?... We have 5 cooling containers outside runningon generators that use over 200liters of fuel every day and come try to tell me a steam generator can cut me fuel bills down by at least 50% if not more?... Just some of the more friendlier responses I got after trying to find some interest. Don't know if it is problem of the Aussie mentality or if I am just unable to make someone understand that we can use the scorching sun for free :( But I am not willing to give up on the idea itself, so what do you think? Oh! You have the financial means and access to create some prototype to integrate into a new cool house or  self sustaining home? Please feel free to contact me so we can start and make a living out of it ;)

Posted by Downunder35m 1 year ago


Safety of your garage door or car remote...

No time and no pics for a proper Instructable, so I just put out some word of warning ;) Around here bad people take advantage of the fact that a lot of new houses have the garage right next to the house. With these you usually also get a door so when you park your car you don't have to get out of the garage again. All controlled by the press of a button on the remote... Some fancy guys got a device working similar to the IM-ME Open Sesame hack a few years back. But unlike the original author the new guys found ways to make money by providing working "universal garage door openers" on dubious websites. Problem with the new model is that it not only fakes a remote with dip switches but also the newer models with so called "rolling code", "intellicode", "changing code" and so on. The old remotes with dip switches should actually by phased out years ago by any owner who values his stuff... But the new models are still deemed secure and next to impossible to hack - well if you trust the advertisement... How does the code hacking work? The old dip switch models allow for a maximum of just over 4000 different codes and come in just 3 or 4 frequency bands. No real problem for anyone with basic electronic and coding skills to hack these - as shown with Open Sesame. The new models all use a so called rolling code, here the remote and opener are paired through 32 bit of ID code and an encrypted part that changes every time. Both remote and opener calculate the next code once a button was pressed or a code received. To overcome reception problems the base usually calculates the next 256 codes in advance - and that is the entry point for bad boys. The illegal device scrambles the frequency detected while storing the code received by the orignal remote. As the door did not open the owner will try to press the button again. Still scrambled to opener does nothing - until the device sends out the first recorded code! Now the owner can drive in and is happy. Of course he still needs to close the garage - again all is scrambled and the code stored as before. You see where this is going.... It is even possible to set the amount of required tries to capture, so in theory a bad guy could get the next 10 or codes in advance for use once the owner is gone out... Worst thing however is that these illegal devices not only open garage doors but also cars as a lot of them use similar systems for their remotes - up to the point of starting the car with it. Took me only 2 hours with Google translate to find a website outside the usual search results that offers these "gadgets", along with WiFi and cell phone jammers, credit card copy devices and more things I don't want know about... What can you do to protect yourself? First check what type of remote your system uses - if there are DIP Switches than replace the remote system or the entire device in favour for something more secure. If you already have a rolling code model that you are far better off but sadly no longer totally safe here. A lost remote should not only be replaced but the old one removed from the system as well - you never know if you just lost it or someone took your remote ;) Alternatives exist, especially if you are not afraid of doing some open heart surgery on the electronics of a garage door opener. You can add a WiFi module and use your mobile phone to open the garage - search Google if you like the idea ;) Another very neat way is using a second transmitter that keeps the relay for activating the opener from working. This can be anything from a BT module paired with your phone or cars BT system over a keycard to numberplate recognition cams. A good system also allows for a "holiday mode" or similar. Here you can set this mode with one remote until you deactivate it with the same remote the system will not react to anything. Great if you leave the house for more than a day or two... As a last resort you can always get a big and angry dog to sleep in your garage.... What if you are renting or a bit limited with the electronics and soldering skills? Not all is lost if you can accept a second remote for added safety. These days you can get plug in converters for your mains voltage outlets that work with a remote control. Unless they use Infra Red for this they are great to disable your opener. Simply plug it in where the power cord for the opener is and then plug the cord into it as well ;) Now you can fully shut off the opener with the press of a button and only if the power outlet is switched on the opener will work. If in doubt you can use a double outlet adapter an extension cord and a night light to indicate wether or not the opener has power. Ok, and what about the door lading from the garage into the house? Well, of course keep it locked and if you are home also keep it locked. At least this way you have some extra time in case someone tries to enter through your garage while you are sleeping ;)

Posted by Downunder35m 1 year ago


John Cleese's "Letter To America"

Forwarded along by an Aussie. Enjoy.Dear Citizens of America,In view of your failure to elect a competent President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy), as from Monday next.Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium," and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.2. The letter "U" will be reinstated in words such as "colour", "favour" and "neighbour." Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "-ize" will be replaced by the suffix "-ise."3. You will learn that the suffix "burgh" is pronounced "burra"; you may elect to spell Pittsburgh as "Pittsberg" if you find you simply can't cope with correct pronunciation.4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up "vocabulary"). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.5. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of "-ize."6. You will relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen," but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).7. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd willbe a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England. It will be called "Come-Uppance Day." 8. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.9. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.10. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.11. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrification will help you understand the British sense of humour.12. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline") - roughly $8/US per gallon. Get used to it.13. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call french fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar.14. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.15. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." American brands will be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.16. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors as English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was an experience akin to having one's ear removed with a cheese grater.17. You will cease playing American "football." There is only one kind of proper football; you call it "soccer." Those of you brave enough, in time, will be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American "football," but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of Jessies - English slang for "Big Girls Blouse").18. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the "World Series" for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable and forgiven.19. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.20. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due, backdated to 1776.Thank you for your co-operation.John CleeseLink

Posted by canida 10 years ago


Hydrogen Peroxide at home and in the Garden

Although the topic is quite old for some of us and mostly because I am too lazy today to make an Instructable: Hydrogen Peroxide ! Back in the day Hydrogen Peroxide was mainly known for the ability to bleech your hair, later it replaced chlorine based products for the preparation of paper and organic fibres. For me it is a good opportunity to go back in time and to pull out some of the remedies my grandparents already used. Who knows, there might be something that helps you or you might know other good uses that I failed to mention here, so feel free to comment. First off: What actually is hydrogen peroxide? We could check Wikipedia but I think it is enough to say that it basically water with an added oxgen mulecule which turn the stuff into a quite powerfull oxidizer. When hydrogen peroxide reacts the added oxygen is released and the normal water remains. Precausions and health risks. In the normal supermarket form hydrogen peroxide comes at a strenght of just 3%. This is just enough for wound treatment or cleaning off a fresh and small stain. The stuff you can buy at your hair dresser comes in concentrations of 5-15%, above that it is of little use to them. Pool grade peroxide however can come as high as 50%. It often requires a permit of at least leaving a copy of your drivers license to buy such high concentration but well worth it price wise. The downside of anything above 5% is a risk for your skin, eyes and airways. So when handling hydrogen peroxide you should waer long sleeve rubber gloves, safety or better swimming goggles and make sure that you don't create vapour by spraying it against the wind direction. Having water at hand to dilute and spillage on your skin is always good. What happens to me if things go wrong? Well, if handled correctly nothing should go wrong but of cause the worst would be eye contact. Getting concentrated hydrogen peroxide in your eyes means extreme pain and even with rinsing it out asap eye damage is more than just possible. Again: wear proper eye protection and if spraying use a filter mask, the paper type is enough!!! Nothing immediate happens on sking contact but a few minutes after contact the skin will turn slightly brown or goes white. This is caused by the oxygen release into your skin cells, if washed off quickly after noticing the discoloration will fade after a few hours. Prolonged exposure of the skin can cause skin cells to fully discolor and living cells might get damaged - a burning sensation is usually the sign that you need to wash the area now ;) Enough bad stuff said, let's see what we can do in the garden.... Fungal infection of your old roses or on your fruit trees? Sometimes the weather does not like our plants and by the time we discover a fungal infestation it is usually pruning time. There are commercial producta available that work quite well but especially the copper based ones tend to do more harm than good in th long run. An alternative is a solution of 10-20% hydrogen peroxide. Spray generously over all affected parts of the plant, leaves, twigs, stem and all. Make sure everything is properly wet! In some cases the fungus can act as a water replellent and it seems impossible to get any of the solution to wet these areas - a drop of dish washing liquid into the bottle will fix this! Watever runs off can be left as it only helps to get oxygen into the soil but of course you should not soak the area... Leave it on for about an hour, around 20 minutes if it quite warm. Rinse all off with clear water and repeat every 2 days for 5 treatments all up. After this time wait 2 or 3 weeks and check if the fungus still gows in some hard to reach areas. If so then repeat the treatment there until satisfied but wait another 2 weeks every 5 single treatments. In some areas of the world certain types of fungus on roses are refered to as "rust". ----- Moved into a new home and the garden beds smell really bad? The last house I moved into had a previous occupant with a big dog but no time to clean after his pet. The garden beds looked dead and I mean so dead that I could not even find weeds in them. And the smell was a distinct mix of old dog poo with lots of fresh cat poo mixed in it - the perfect outdoor pet toilet :( Trying to dig it all under made me recover that the top soil was more §$&*# than soil. I had to get rid of the bacteria of all the poo and somehow neutralize a lot of the unwanted "nutrients". The solution was to first loosen all the soil as deep as I could go. Then I added rice straw (but anything straw like or dry grass will do) to mix it through. At this stage I wished I had a gas mask LOL All up the contaminated garden beds covered about 20square meters. I got a 10 liter canister of pool grade hydrogen peroxide, from this I diluted down with 20 liters of water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to help with the soil wetting. All was applied as evenly as I good with a watering can and then the area was covered with some tarp to try keeping as much oxygen on and in the soil as possible. A day later the tarp was removed and all beds watered with hose to drowning point. This watering was repeated every 3 days for 3 weeks to drive out all the excess and unwanted nutrients from the poo. The smell was already gone except for some cat urine residue which disappeared after some rounds of watering. Three months after the initial treatment I did some soil tests, added nutrients were required and the next season I had vegetables growing :) ----- Planting? Whether from seeds or seedlings, give hydrogen peroxide a try! I use a 5% solution to soak the potting mix I use before putting my seeds in it. Not only does it kill a few of the unwanted things that might still be in there but it adds a lot of oxygen into the soil, which gives the seeds a much better start. For seeds I use a 5% solution as well but only leave them in for about an hour before placing them between some wet paper towels until they start germinating. This way I can be sure all harmful bacteria and fungal spores are dead and I can use a sterile seed to keep going. Might just be my opinion but I think the germination rate is better and seedling in comparison start growing faster and stronger. Home uses.... As we learned before hydrogen peroxide, at least in higher concentrations is a powerful way to remove fungus. In our bathrooms we often have the problem that the ceiling starts to develop black spots as in the colder times water condenses here and takes a long time to dry off. If you now go to your favorite hardware store they will recommend the use of a chlorine based product, basically bleach... And although it does the job it also means your house will stink for days and if you scrub the ceiling you will get it on your sking and stink too. Hydrogen peroxide at 20% or higher concentrations can be sprayed onto the cleiling :) Of course you will need good protection for this and all things color should be removed, like towels or floor mats. By protection I mean a minimum of swimming goggles, a tyvek suit or similar to cover all exposed skin areas and at least a paper dust mask, better a filtered respirator like you use for spray painting or using insecticides. If you have a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle then a stream is far better than a spray mist!! Not only is your exposure far lower but it much easier to wet the ceiling quickly. Wet all affected areas, then leave and the room, close the door and take off all clothes you used t protect you. The clothes can be left out to dry but double check that you had no soaked spot where your sking might have been in contact - if so rinse the skin with plenty of water! It will take some time to work and then dry, so best to do this in the summer time or if during the colder times you need to make sure the room is porperly heated and aired out to dry! Repeat until all black spots are gone, really bad areas will leave a permanent discoloration looking like a slight brwonish color is the ligh it right otherwise you won't see it. Once fully dry it is best to scrape off all lose paint and then to use a acrylic based sealer before giving the ceiling a fresh coat of white. The sealer will prevent the water to penetrate more than the paint level and if you get the fungus back on the paint it is far easier to clean ;) ----- Carpet cleaning.... When moving into a new rental with carpet on the floor you often are left with areas indicating the carpet might be "clean" but the underlay certainly is not. You can fix the underlay but you certainly can make sure all harmful stuff is gone from the carpet. Carpet cleaning machines can be hired but often much cheaper if you buy the "recommended" cleaning product with it. Rent is usually based on a daily base and price depends on how much cleaner you need. If you only want to desinfect the carpet which otherwise looks mostly fine than go for the smallest pack available and use it to spot clean areas you want cleaner first. For the desinfecting part I recommend to test how high you can go with the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide before using it on a big scale - keep in mind the carpet will never be fully dry and the remaining peroxide will continue to act! Test a 10% solution first before you go higher as you don't want to buy 30 liters or more of pool grade peroxide - just trust me on that one and only try to buy this much you do want to get into trouble a few days later! If 10 percent solution left on the carpet does not cause any bleaching of the fabric (unwanted bleaching that is) you can try higher for spot cleaning in demanding areas. A good spot to try the solution is under the cover or duct outlets, under these joining bars where carpet changes to tiles (if you can lift them off) or in wardrobes if the carpet goes inside. There are two way to treat your carpet once the general cleaning is done. a) use a garden sprayer or similar to wet the carpet This is good for single room treatment like for the baby room but especially on thicker carpets it requires a lot of solution and can become costly. Once wet leave for at least 30 minutes so the peroxide can do its thing, then use the machine with either the solution filled or just to dry off the carpet. I recommend to use the peroxide solution in the machine as it allows for better penetration and it will remove more soiled solution this way. If your catching container starts bubbling like mad it means you have a lot of §$%&#+ in the carpet and it might be best to first clean it all with the normal carpet cleaning agent before using the peroxide again - again tesing on smaller areas can help wasting the peroxide. If you need to store prepared solutions than it is best in a cold place. It will take several hours on an otherwise clean carpet for the peroxide to fully disappear so it best to use shoes and prevent skin contact during that time - especially if a baby crawls around ;) ----- Toilet.... We don't want to talk about it but everyone needs to clean their toilet sooner or later. For most things in there using the toilet brush when it happens will keep things clean and healthy. But what if someone in the house is sick or with a weak immune system? You could use all sorts of commercial cleaners and desinfectants but a wipe with wet towel or cloth soaked in a 10% solution of hydrogen peroxide will quickly eliminate all harmfull things on your seat, lid or bowl, including the buttons to press and the door handles ;) Just wipe and leave it wet for a minute or two then wipe again and ry - done! Personal use I always pack a small bottle of supermarket grade peroxide when going off road or camping trips. Although we now have modern desinfectants that won't stink or otherwise harm you I still prefer the old stuff ;) If you are far from civilisation than the last thing you want to need is medical attention for something that started as small as a scratch or graze.... Out in the unkown wilderness you will never know if the rockk you just crash landed on was used as a urinal by a fox the night before... A bit of gravel left in your skin might contain harmful bacteria... A cut with your own knife?? - What did you all cut since the last proper cleaning of the blade? You see where I am going here, a small thing might turn into something really nasty a day or two later. If you clean a freash and minor wound properly and then rinsie it with hydrogen perodixe most if not all harmful leftovers will be killed by the releasing oxygen. Of course this pretty much useless on bleeding wounds or where it is obvious that you won't be able to remove all debris from the wound - here it means you trip is still over in favour for proper medical treatment. The thing is that hydrogen peroxide was basically abandoned for all wound treatment once the modern "cleaning aids" became available as the peroxide will not only attack harmful things but also living tissue. The claims goes as far as causing bad scar tissue, damage to blood vessels and even "burning" of the tissue. One big problem I have with all these claims is that they were never really mentioned until the new meds came out. IMHO exposure time and how you use it it the key - common sense if you ask me. Noone should ever soak a wound in peroxide, if it is that big that you need to soak it you need medical attention anyway. And as said you should rinse the wound, that means all remaining liquid should be allowed to flow off - this will only leave a minor amount of peroxide in the wound and the exposure time will end with once all oxygen is released. For minor wounds I only use a paper tissue or cotton bud soaked in peroxide and wipe the wound.... ----- Smelly feet? Ok, maybe not the best way to start a conversation but we all know what sneakers do to our feet in the summer... Insoles with copper and activated carbon will help a lot and at least "cure" your sneakers while they are off your feet and have time to dry. But the smell is actually cause by bacteria growing from everywherey in your sneaker to your sking, actuall starting at your sking... If you wear your sneakers for long periods of time time or even whenever possible and also suffer from a bad smell hydrogen peroxide might be able to help you. Most sneakers will tolerate a machine wash and should come out germ free, if that is no option pack them in a sealed back and leaven them in the freezer over night - this will kill all bacteria and remove the smell. Now to break the endless cycle you need to remove the bacteria from inside your skin. So daily sock changes, freezing shoes and washing feet is a must! Your feet will really benefit from a foot bath in a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. To keep costs at a minimum use a container that is just the right size for your feet and prepare the solution from pool grade peroxide. I an ideal case you should not need more than 2 liters but all used product can be stored cool and re-used the next day, after that you need to make a new batch. Keep your feet submerged for at least 10 minutes. This will allow a deep penetration of the skin but might result in some white spots that will disappear after a few hours. Consenquent foot baths can be reduced to 5 minutes. After about a week you should notice that wearing your sneakes no longer causes and bad smell and you can stop the treatment. Freezing the sneakers over night, dialy (or more) sock changes and daily, proper cleaning of your feet should prevent any further bad smells :) ----- Bleaching your hair Althoug it was done for many years I really can't recommend using hydron peroxide for this purpose! Any concentration strong enough to have a proper effect in a reasonable time will at least cuase skin irritation. Back in the days they said your burning scalp is what you need to endure to get blonde hair :( And as said already you really don't want to get that stuff into your eyes... General uses If you have a fruit based stain then cahnces are hydrogen peroxide will remove it, especially if fresh. Even at supermarket concentration repeated application and proper drying off with a paper towel or similar will remove even red wine or beetroot stains. ------ Blood... On you skin blood is easy removed with cold water, same on other surfaces but washing off is no option a wet cloth or cotton piece will work fine. Hydrogen peroxide is good if things need to go fst or if the surface is porous, here the releasing oxigen will drive out the blood with the bubbles. ----- Fish tanks... If you love your tank then you really hate to medicate or even worse have a bad algea infestion, especially the stuff of the black kind. A change to activated carbon filter material is always recommended after a medical treatment to remove all leftovers from the system. However, certain medication simply won't be affected by a carbon filter and stay in the system until fully used or broken down otherwise. Especially in bigger tanks a partial water change is often out of the question as it would cause too much additional stress to the fish and plants. Hydrogen peroxide can help to break down most if not all remains of the used medication while at the same time adding more oxygen to the water. To be sensitive and safe in all enviroments I recomment to calculate the concentration based on the volume of your tank and to add the required amount of peroxide very slowly into the outgoing water stream from your pump. By slowly I mean in terms of a slow drip if using solutions over 10% to be added to the tank. If in doubt remove a suitable amount of tank water into a bucket and add the concentrated peroxide to reach the final tank limit. I strongly recommend to stay below 2% in favour over additional treatments a few days later if required. That means the diluted solution you add should be entered into the tank slowly if in doubt add a glass full every few minutes. For the treatment of the dreaded black algea you do the same 2% solution but be prepared that it will take several treatment until you see them die off. If you can then it is best relocate the fish for a few days so you can use a stronger solution of 5-8% just with the plants left in the tank. When transporting fish in a bag it can pay off to add a little bit of 3% peroxide to the bag to give additional oxygen for transport. I do this maually for every fish I buy from a store so I can be sure all fungus and bacteris is killed of before I introduce it to my tank. Really helps to prevent loosing a lot of fish just because you added one or two more to your tank ;) For the normal sized transport bags I use a good shot glass full of 3% peroxide in case you wondered. ----- Fridge and freezer Be it after long use or because you bought one second hand - once empty and warm some of our colling gadget just smell bad. A good clean with a hot water and your favourite cleaning agent is a good start, no need for aggressive stuff ;) If clean but still smelly, like after a power failure with fish in it you might want to go one step further. Best option is to use a spray bottle and a peroxide solution of at least 15% here. Use proper protection as mentioned above and spray all surface with the solution until soaked. What you can take out you take you take out, clean properly and then wipe or brush with the same peroxide solution. Bare aluminium should be handled with caution as in some cases it can oxidise badly, leaving a white and not removable crust behind. Here it is best to wipe and then wipe again with a cloth soaked in clear water to limit exposure time. No need to dry out - wipe out and check if it still smells, if so repeat and wiped off all areas as good as you can with a solution soaked cloth. Once the smell is gone dry out and enjoy smell free use from now on :) ----- Fruit and vegetables Unless you know exactly what happened to it you might want to clean your vegies and fruits properly before using them. Pesticides, herbicites, fungicites.... Not mention normal fungus and bacteria on the product.... On a commercial base hydron peroxide baths are often used to clean products for sensible people, hospital use or long term storage. For a personal use this only makes sense if you have free and unlimited access to the peroxide. An alternative are ozone bubblers. Expensive models can eb bought in shops or online, complete with timers or even a gauge showing the concentration in a room. On a hobby level for the kitchen sink we can use an ozone generator, air pump and bubble stone from the aquarium store ;) Let the pump bubble out the ozone for a minute or two, fill the sink with the fruit and veggies and move them around every few minutes. Best of course with an open window to limit you exposure to the ozone! Rule of thumb: If you can smell it is already too much in the air! The ozone in the water does the same as the peroxide: It breaks down harmful things with pure oxygen. The downside is that it is very harmful for your airways and body in general, so against all what youtube can offer I actually prefer to treat my fruit and veggie in a sealed bag. Place them inside, push out as much air as you can and then fill up with the ozone from the generator. Once the bag is full leave for about 30 minutes then wash and use or place the things in the fridge.

Posted by Downunder35m 10 months ago


The more natural way of cleaning things...

At my workplace we basically have a specific cleaner or cleaning product for every task you can think of. From glass over stainless to plastics and desinfectants for lots of different surfaces. After a quick look into my cleaining cabinet at home I started to wonder if I am doing something wrong as I only have a few cleaning things for my use. Asking my friends also showed they have a big bunch of cleaning chemicals, plus the bottle of bleach that everyone down here has. So I though: Your grandma only had a few cleaning products and you learned most of things you need to clean from her. Considering I grew up healthy I guess she must have done something right.... Let's clean up with the cleaning myths, shall we? 1. What cleaning chemicals do you have? For quite a few people the list would start something like this: Dishwashing liquid, window, cleaner, bathroom cleaner, soap scum remover, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, several desinfectants.... If that is true for you too than we might be on to something already. 2. What cleaning chemicals do I really need? This is a good question as everyone is a bit different but I assume a healthy household here. Of course we need certain things to clean our various surfaces properly but it is far less than waht you have been told by the TV commercials.... These days we like to think if there is a special cleaner for something then of course we have to use it to clean properly. Unless you have trades people walking through with their wet dogs several times a day and see dust storms at least twice a week you really only need a few things. So let's get to the basics: 3. Old style cleaning and what you need for it - really the only stuff required to keep all clean and sanitised. a) Methylated spirit b) Clear ammonia - cloudy ammonia works too but be aware that the added soap can be a problem that leaves streakes c) Hydrogen peroxide - pool grade to be cheap in the long run d) Orange oil - citrus oil works great too if you prefer a different smell e) Soap - just basic soap, these stinky, slightly yellow and hard bricks - no fancy smelly soap ;) f) Several cleaning brushes but you should already have those g) Windows cleaning tools - the basic microfibre cloth and squeegee will do h) Several microfibre cloths - bigger ones for floors and walls, smaller for windows and the rest I) Yesterdays newspaper j) Baking soda With those few things we have everything to clean whatever comes up and if bought in bulk comes down to a few cents per bottle compared to a few dollars when you buy all the stuff you don't need. Lets figure out what the stuff does and how to use it: 4. Mixing and what to use it for.... The alcohol is a really good remover for everything greasy and also desinfects the surfaces. A quick spray and wipe on your bench is all that you need to remove oily residue or the mess from the kids. Mixed with a bit of soap and water (about 50-50) also removes sticky stuff like jam or syrup. If we use about 50ml of alcohol, 50ml of clear ammonia and 900ml of water we get one liter of really good window cleaner. The modern way is to use microfibre for the cleaning and a squeegee to get it dry, the old way just uses a cloth and then the window is "polished" with some old newspaper. The black ink reacts with the alcohol and form a mild abrasive while the paper soaks up the moisture, the result is a prefectly clean window in under 3 minutes. Orange oil is not only a powerful degreaser but also lifts old dirt or even glue residue. Used directly it will get rid of the remains from sticky tape, stickers and everything that other cleaners fails to get off - smoth surface and non soaking of course. 50ml of it with 50ml of ammonia and 100ml of alcohol per bucket makes a good florr cleaner and your house smells nice when done. Works best if you can use a microfibre cloth or floor wiper to dry the surface with it. In the kitchen we can find a lot of surfaces that are greasy and we already covered that bit, so lets get to the though stuff. The kitchen sink can become dull looking although it is not scratched. This is due to hard water, food residue, soap and other things. Best is of course to wipe it and dry it after use but who really does this every day? A pot scrubbing pad with some baking soda on it does the trick here. Make the pad nly moist and sprinkle the baking soda on it. Rub over the stainless and if too dry add a few drops of water. Once done rinse off and enjoy the difference. For hard to clean or badly turtured sinks you can try a ball of aluminium foil and coke - use it like a polish. The oven is often our worst nightmare. The cooktop is not far behind. But even here we can have a chance to clean without too much hard work or bad chemicals. Of course the best way is to prevent these spills and boil overs ;) For the cooktop some hot water and baking soda will soften the baked on stuff. Simply remove what you can with the hot water and then sprinkle the surface with baking soda. Cover all with the paper towels and if not wet enough add a bit more hot water so all shets are soaked. Leave ove night and wipe clean the next day. The oven is a bit of a problem once the side and back wall are filthy. If baking soda with a pot scrubber won't do the trick get some of these steel pads with soap in it. The soap in them is special in terms that you only need a little bit of water to remove almost anything with them - and they won't scrath enamelled surfaces. On the bottom we often have badly burnt in things that are next to impossible to fully remove. I suggest to cover the same way as the cooktop but also to add some orange oil. Just make a thick paste of baking soda and orange oil and wrok it into the soiled surface. Cover with wet paper towels and leave over night. Now you don't want to flood your oven, so that means you need to use a sponge or thick cloth that is big enough to wipe off the surfaces you soaked the day before. As the orange oil really is oil it pays off to use some alcohol in the cleaning water to get rid of the oil and grease a bit easier. Don't expect to see a clean and shiny surface after one treatment if the oven was badly misused, you might have to repeat the procedure a few times. If in doubt use the soapy steel pads for last clean and before soaking over night again. Three to four treatments are usually enough to clean even the worst disaster that can happen in an oven unless you baked it in for months... 5. Desinfecting and mouldy spots.... As said, the methylated spirit is basically just pure alcohol and kill almost anything that might harm you. But sometimes that just is not enough. And who really wants to spend an hour or longer to clean some mouldy spots in the shower or try to cover the smell by spraying room freshener? As a lst resort for everything I use Hydrogen Peroxide. The supermarket grade is only 3% and usually badly overpriced, so I suggest to get a small canister of pool grade peroxide. Do yourself a favour and ask them to install a tap on it - you don't want to do it yourself unless you already know how bad pool grade peroxide is! For your own safety when handling it I strongly recommend wearing long rubber gloves, nitrile is better but please no latex as it could start to burn when getting in contact with the peroxide. For high grade desinfecting or the removal of mouldy areas I recommend to dilute 1:5, one part of peroxide to 5 parts of water. Only for the mould removal on tiled, plastic, glass or metal surfaces you can use the peroxide pure from the container - but please add face protection when cleaning! Some spray bottles work with peroxide some just start leaking badly, if you want try an old bottle of chlorine based cleaner after really flushing everything out. The peroxide breaks down any organic material it comes into contact with, so not just the mould you want to remove but also your skin or eyes if you allow contact. On the skin you see white areas after contact and they won't go away until all the oxygen in the skin is gone that was left by the peroxide. If you act too late it means you might loose some skin flakes. The sure sign of overlook exposure on your skin is a burning sensation in the area - this only happens when the amount was big enough or your clothes got soaked. On your surfaces to clean you will notice bubbles forming quite quickly - this mean the peroxide is reacting with something, usually organic material. Let it bubble... Once it stops bubbling the surface is either sterile or the peroxide is used up, if it bubbles when adding fresh peroxide onto it then there is still crap left ;) It really helps to brush off the surface after each treatment as a lot of loose material will be flushed out when rinsing off. Once it looks and smells clean again it usually means it is clean :) 6. Special case: Wood... Be it wooden floorboards, furniture or just your chopping board - always try what the manufacturer recommends first! Untreated wood should never be cleaned with anything wet! Sealed wood, like floorboards or things with varnish on it to make it water proof can be cleaned the same way as mentioned above - but I would leave out the ammonia as some wood treatments simply won't tolerate it and might go dull instead of returning nice and shiny - spot testing required if you think you have to use ammonia as well! Orange oil itself makes a great furniture cleaner if the surface is smooth and sealed, but if it is not it means the oil soaks into the wood together with the stuff you want to clean off! It also takes off several paints and types of varnish if you work it hard enough and give it some time, so avoid this and be quick instead of forgetting to finnish the job ;) Always try to wet the surface as little as possible and wipe fully dry as soon as possible! Ok, good start but what is the real benefit? For me the actual benefit is that I know what I am using and exposing myself to. Just reading what is in most cleaning products we find at the supermarket makes me want to clean again after using them, just to remove their residues... I admit it might take some time to get used to mixing and just having a few ingredients for the cleaning but it does work great. Especially if you or your kids are already sensitive to certain chemicals or just of poor health in general you might see the benefit quite quickly. Some people really don't like the smell of ammonia but unless you are sensitive to it there is nothing to worry when using the household grade as we always dilute it down massively anyway. A good way to avoid the worst stink is by mixing it outside with the wind from behind. I won't say that certain commercial products are bad, harmful or not good enough for the job. Some are actually worth to have in some cases but I just say it is better to only have a hand full of chemicals that are not too bad instead of an endless list of things were we don't even know what's inside. For me the best is your surprise when it actually works better than you expected and report your findings here.

Posted by Downunder35m 1 year ago