WebDevStudios is helping kids in Uganda have a brighter future

By , December 8, 2014 10:12 am

On December 5th WebDevStudios announced a holiday fundraising drive that will benefit kids in Uganda. This is a cause I am particularly passionate about and am asking you to join my team at WebDevStudios where your simple financial donation this season can radically alter the life of a student in Uganda for the better.

100% of all funds raised go straight to Freedom Projectz, an organization which I actively participate in. I became involved in Freedom Projectz early this year and have seen first hand the amazing impact your donations have on the ground in Uganda. Students who would otherwise be living on the street (I am not talking figuratively either, literally on the streets) are being given a dry warm place to live, clothing, 3 meals a day, schooling, and vocational training.

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This is Stella, one of several girls I and my family sponsor. Stella graduated from the Destiny orphanage boarding school last year and is currently pursuing a degree at university. Stella wants to build a business that will give back to the community by providing computer jobs and training. Without my support Stella would not be able to reach her ambitious goals.

little_dudeThis little guy is new to Destiny and my grandparents instantly fell in love with him. They have committed to supporting his journey. He has a bright future now and I am sure the entirety of Uganda will be improved through the contributions he will be able to make back to society.

Would you help me and WebDevStudios provide a bright future for even more kids? Together we can eliminate need and poverty by partnering with Freedom Projectz with an easy financial contribution. Simply click the Give Now button above or visit the fundraising page and your donation will be used to provide a huge impact in a kids life.

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WordPress: Send HTML emails from your plugin

By , December 7, 2014 11:19 pm

By default when you use the wp_mail() function it will send out an ugly text based email. Lucky for you WordPress has an easy built in tool (surprise!) to switch the emails from text emails into html email. Simply drop the following line into your plugin and presto! Html email will flow out of it.

  1. add_filter( 'wp_mail_content_type',create_function( '', 'return "text/html"; ' ) );
  2.  

Ghost leak in the water system annihilated

By , November 30, 2014 12:22 am

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When you live on a boat finding ways to conserve water becomes almost an obsession. I do not have the luxury of a fat pipe of water coming off the city line giving me a constant supply, instead I have a tank that sits beneath my floor (two in fact). The level has to be monitored and ideally refilled before the tank runs empty and air bubbles are introduced in the line. The tanks going empty runs the risk of burning out components expecting water to be there.

Penny has 2 35 gallon tanks. Those tanks should last a good while and yet they were emptying every one or two days. I was having a really hard time believing I was going through that much water and it bothered me to think I was using that much, then I was away from the boat for a couple days... When I returned there was no water in the system that I had filled before I left. It happened a couple more times and I knew something was up. I hunted around and could sometimes hear water dripping but not consistently. One of the bilge pumps would kick on several times a day and dump a few gallons overboard, revealing the leak was not insignificant. There was a ghost in my system somewhere and I finally located it this evening.

The culprit was living in the connections to the inlet on the hot water tank. The previous owner replaced all the fittings but they had come loose. I am guessing from a combination of heating and cooling with the motor running and all the vibration that comes along with it. Some silicon tape and a flat head screw driver and the problem seems to have gone away.

The issue was on three connections.

  • The T coming from the water pressure pump on the side that split to the hot water tank
  • The input side of a shutoff valve for the hot water tank inlet
  • The output side of the same shutoff valve before going into the tank

The connections had come so loose that wiggling the hose caused water to spray across the engine compartment. Simple and free fix and the system has been holding water now for almost an hour with no leakage!

Time to take a nice hot shower :)

Penny’s new oven!

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By , November 23, 2014 9:43 pm

When I bought Penny she came with an alcohol stove and with a microwave beneath. No oven at all. Thing is I have not had a microwave in any of my apartments since 2009 when I left university. Even at university I only remember the majority of my use of the microwave being to thaw meat. I honestly have not at all missed having a microwave. I do not even notice going without, but I did surely feel not having an oven on the boat.

My apartment had a toaster oven that my mother had given me. I took some measurements on the boat and determined that though it would fit width and depth it did not fit height. I brought it aboard anyways figuring I could figure out how to use it. It fit nicely above the stove as you can see in the following picture. Top to bottom is: toaster oven, alcohol stove, microwave.

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Two owners before me Penny was owned by a retired couple that lived aboard her. That couple did extensive renovations and part of those renovations were to the existing stove/oven setup. That owner had done a pretty good and clever job about crafting the new parts so I figured the stove had a simple way to remove, though I did not find it on quick inspection. Closer inspection however revealed that after lifting the stove top top open the alcohol burners for lighting they could be picked up. Nestled on either side under there were screws holding the stove to the sides. It was trivial to remove the four screws holding in the stove and relocate the whole thing up a couple inches to to accommodate the toaster oven.

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Now Penny has full baking abilities. Thus far I have baked several batches of cookies and a couple pans of nachos. The toaster oven is working great and has the added benefit of a timer that shuts off the oven. Simply set it to the desired time and if I walk away or forget about it the oven shuts itself off and no burned or overcooked food! BOOM!

Tragically the microwave that was there is no longer with Penny. It was a cool old microwave from Sears. From back in the day when products were built to last. I strangely miss it though I never used it nor had any inclination to use it. I think the old Sear nostalgia hit. I am however enjoying taking advantage of my new oven!

Replacing the water pressure pump

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By , November 17, 2014 8:51 pm

As part of the electrical overload which damaged several ship systems the water pressure pump was damaged. I found this out one day when I was in the shower. I had just finished soaping up when the water sputtered a few times and simply quit, leaving me covered head to toe in soap. Not a pleasant situation to be sure.

When I told Josh what happened he descended into the abyss of the engine compartment to see what the issue was. Turns out the electrical overload that blew the battery charger had also dumped too much current into the water pressure pump and blew it out. Off to Fisheries I went to see how deeply my wallet was going to be hurt. To my utter surprise the water pressure pump for my boat is cheap! I picked it up straight away. Josh came with me to ask the plumbing department some questions about his own water system. Turns out his water pressure pump was bad as well but that is just a coincidence.

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Josh guinea pigged replacing a water pressure pump on my boat and once again hopped into the engine compartment to replace Penny's pump.
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It only too a few minutes to pop the hoses onto the new pump and transfer the electrical wires and Penny was back in business. The water never tasted fresher and the shower never felt better!

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