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Author: Alan

Chuck-will’s-widow

Chuck-will’s-widow

Chuck-Will’s Widow

We hear this bird almost nightly. I used this app to record it’s song to help identify it:

Recorded in backyard

Birdnet sent me to THIS Wikipedia page after identifying the song as being from a Chuck-Will’s-Willow. You can find a recording below the right details column

The Chuck-will’s-willow is often mistaken for the Eastern whip-poor-will which has a similar song.

You can compare the two here:

Chuck-will’s-Willow

Eastern whip-poor-will

How to pick out an extension cord

How to pick out an extension cord

Don’t buy the cheapest extension cord you can find. Here is a good explanation of what you should look for (from ChainSawJournal):

Typically, outdoor extension cords will have a number on the packaging or in the listing that looks like this: 12/3. The “12” represents the gauge wire rating (or wire diameter), and the “3” means it has three wires (or conductors) inside. Sometimes the wire gauge might be referred to in a more formal manner, such as, the American Wire Gauge (AWG). The AWG system has been used since 1857.

Whoever came up with gauge ratings made things very confusing for the average consumer. The lower the gauge number the thicker the conducting wire(s) inside the extension cord and thus the greater flow of electricity. A wire’s thickness directly affects the amount of current (or amps) it can carry. Choosing a slightly lower gauge (thicker wires) will ensure electricity flows freely through the outdoor extension cord.

So, you’re better off with a slightly smaller gauge (thicker wire, greater electricity flow) than a slightly larger gauge (thinner wire, less electricity). If you’ve ever had an outdoor extension cord that feels hot, it’s because the conducting wire inside was too thin (high gauge) and electricity couldn’t flow freely due to resistance from an inadequate wire that couldn’t handle the full current for your chainsaw, or other power tool or device.

Important points to follow

  • Only buy an outdoor extension cord with the UL symbol (or the recognized symbol from the country you live in). This indicates that the cord has been tested by Underwriters Laboratories and has received their official stamp of approval.
  • Exposure to outdoor conditions can cause cords to deteriorate over time, so store your extension cords inside when you’re not using them.
  • Only use extension cords marked “For Outdoor Use”. It should have a “W” designation. Quality outdoor extension cords have connectors molded onto them to prevent moisture from seeping in, and outer coatings that are designed to withstand damage from being dragged along the ground.
  • Buy only the length you need. The shorter the better.
  • Never plug an extension cord into another to extend your reach. Just use one.
  • Never use a damaged cord. Whether it’s frayed, cut, or flattened. Toss it out and buy a new one.
  • Keep the cord away from any moving parts of your power tool, including, chains, blades and anything else that spins, rotates or cuts.
  • Always unplug an extension cord when not in use. The cord continues to conduct electricity while plugged in, which makes it a safety hazard if kids or pets chew on the cord or stick sharp metal objects into the exposed end. Serious injury could occur and it’s easily avoidable. Just unplug and store indoors
Internet in our new 3 story home

Internet in our new 3 story home

Decided to cut the chord a few weeks ago and go with YouTube TV. Have been pretty happy with the result. Monthly Spectrum Internet (200mb) is about $75 with taxes and fees. No discount with no other bundled service.

Our new home in Dripping Springs is 3 stories. Ground floor, upstairs and built-out basement. I was worried about Internet in the basement where I’ll be a 100% remote worker starting in April.

Decided to buy the Google Nest Wifi Mesh Router and 2 Add-On Points for $349. It may be the best decision I’ve made. Comes with speaker and Google Assistant in each node.

I’ve been seeing some of the fastest WiFi Connection speeds I’ve ever experienced. Here is a download/upload test from my basement. Upper 180 is common (speedtest.net):

Using Wifi Analyzer on my phone, this is the signal strength I am seeing:

To put the -40 value into perspective, this post explains signal strengths this way:

Wireless signal strength is measured in dBm (decibel milliwatts) and is, somewhat confusingly, expressed only as negative values.

So what should we consider a good, acceptable, or poor Wi-Fi signal strength?

Signal StrengthExpected QualityRequired For
-30 dBmMaximum signal strength, you are probably standing right next to the access point.
-50 dBmAnything down to this level can be considered excellent signal strength.
-60 dBmGood, reliable signal strength.
-67 dBmReliable signal strength.The minimum for any service depending on a reliable connection and signal strength, such as voice over Wi-Fi and non-HD video streaming.
-70 dBmNot a strong signal.Light browsing and email.
-80 dBmUnreliable signal strength, will not suffice for most services.Connecting to the network.
-90 dBmThe chances of even connecting are very low at this level.

Needless to day, my Internet service is rocking!