Welcome to Provide Your Own - Blog

When we find something on the web we really like, or have just a short comment not warranting an entire article, we put it here. Check often for updates or subscribe to our RSS feed.

DIY Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

Ethernet (your computer network) only uses 2 pairs of wires. Cat5 cable provides 4 pairs, leaving 2 pairs leftover. You can use those two extra pairs to transmit power (in small amounts) to power remote equipment such as another router, switch or a bridge.

This additional capability is not provided by default. This article provides clear instruction on setting up your own Power Over Ethernet (PoE) network, including making custom adapters for injecting & extracting the power.… Read the rest

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New Online Circuit Simulator

Circuit simulation is a great way to design and debug a circuit without spending all the time to prototype it. One problem in the past was the difficulty in setting up the simulation – picking models, etc.

A new simulator called PartSim changes all that. It is online, free, and drop-dead simple to use. It even links to Digikey parts and has some vendor parts available as well. It also has a nice schematic capture and even does diagramming.

Give it a try.… Read the rest

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Killing Saplings & Woody Plants

Sometimes you have a sapling or other type of woody perennial coming up where it is not wanted. Getting rid of them presents a problem because if you cut them down, they will just grow back again.

I have a few areas on my place where I haven’t been able to mow for a few years, and I haven’t known what to do because of this very problem. Short of tethering goats on the spot all summer, I found another means to getting rid of these perennial weeds.

This video demonstrates the solution:

  • Cut the plant down as low as you can/want
  • Immediately (within a minute) paint the cut with full strength (concentrated, not diluted) Round-Up.

I have considered trying this technique for some time, but haven’t. In the video, Greg asserts that it never fails him, whether the tree is large or small.

While I am not a big fan of using herbicides, a judicious application as indicated in the process seems both environmentally sound and safe.

A quick word about Round-Up. This is the brand name of the original product made by Monsanto. The patent recently expired, so now you can get a generic version from another company. … Read the rest

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Do You Believe in Conspiracies?

Conspiracies abound – there is no doubt about it. The media propaganda delights in lampooning anyone who believes that men would conspire together to further their interest (at least men in government; everyone else is fair game). While I am very skeptical of anything coming from either the mainstream media, the pharma industry or government agencies, I don’t throw everything out either. Two examples come to mind – free energy inventions (including 100+ mpg carburetors) and the Apollo moon landing.

In the case of free energy inventions, when they clearly violate the known laws of physics, they must be viewed very skeptically. It doesn’t matter who believes in them, what fantastic story is told about how the auto manufacturers strong-armed them out of business (or the oil companies), or how realistic it appears, it is very, very, very likely to be a hoax. Human gullibility knows no bounds, nor does human ingenuity to fool and exploit it.

Houdini spent years debunking séances. James Randi does the same with charlatans today. By all means keep an open mind, but when something sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

In the case of the moon landing, just because the government … Read the rest

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Can you Top a Tree with an Ax?

This fascinating video shows how lumber was harvested from giant redwood trees before the chainsaw.

Nowadays, some people get smug about how advanced we are. We might have some high-tech gadgets, but are we better for them, or worse? Looking at these fellows scaling a tree almost as fast as one can walk, and then to chop it down with an ax while suspended from its trunk is absolutely amazing.

Modern technology has not made us any better. In most cases, it simply removes the requirement of skill. Anyone can fell a tree with a chainsaw, but how many can fell in with a foot or two of precision as these guys could?

If we are to be more self-sufficient and less reliant on corporations and experts, we must learn new skills. Avoiding technology is not an advantage as some may think. What is important is not avoiding technology, but rather avoiding learning useful skills and relying on technology as a crutch.

We must be the master of technology, not its slave. Thoughts anyone?… Read the rest

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Roll Your Own Image Recognition App

Have you ever wondered how digital cameras detect faces? If you thought that computer vision was rocket science and too difficult, that notion is no longer true.

There is this wonderful open source library called OpenCV that runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and now RaspberryPi. Sophisticated visual algorithms are no longer limited to only high performance desktop computers. Using either your smartphone or a RaspberryPi, you can embed image detection in everyday life.

To get started, download the software needed for your device. Here are some nice tutorials to get you up to speed on using it.

Anyone using OpenCV? What are you doing with it?… Read the rest

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Introducing the Provide Your Own Store

We are pleased to announce the grand opening of our online store. It is a store unlike any other – either online or brick and mortar. Reflecting the diversity of the ProvideYourOwn website, our goal is to provide the resources you may need in your quest to reclaim your life from big corporations, crummy products and boxed-in living.

Our initial offerings are just the beginning. In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to add even more resources to help you. Here is just a taste of what we currently offer as well as future solutions we have in mind:

LEDs & Lighting

Here at ProvideYourOwn, we think that LEDs are the greatest thing since sliced bread. We have written some already about their wonderfulness, and will continue to do so. While LEDs still excel as indicator lights, in the near future we will be seeing them lighting our homes, landscapes, providing festive decoration and even personal ornamentation.

As is so common with many consumer products these days, most LED products available  are poorly designed; providing a woefully inadequate and sickly blueish light. This realm is one where you can provide your solution that is far superior.

A … Read the rest

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See the World From Your Chair

Have you ever wondered what a far away place looks like, but can’t find the means to go see it? Now you can. Google (who is constantly releasing new stuff that no one ever knows about) is now adding Street View panoramas of the world’s wonder spots.

This blog post from Google highlights their latest addition – the Grand Canyon. I gave it a spin, and it is pretty wild stuff – you can pick where to start and then hike down the trail, looking around as you go. It does get a little old after a while, so it might be nice to offer a side-by-side map view as well. Maybe they do, I just don’t know about it.

Google probably has lots of other scenic places photographed as well, but how you find them is up to you dear reader. Happy treasure hunting.… Read the rest

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Interesting Way to Repair Plastic Parts

Are you tired of having to throw away a perfectly good item just because some cheap plastic connector or other part broke? Like most of us, Matthias Wandel was just as frustrated, so he devised a novel way to repair these broken fittings.

The problem often faced when merely gluing the plastic piece back together, is that when under stress, any repair made will be weaker than the original one that broke in the first place. Matthias’s technique is to wrap the repair joint with nichrome wire that he melts into the plastic. His video shows how he does it.… Read the rest

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DIY Rivets from Plain Ole’ Nails

Have you ever wanted to rivet a project, but didn’t have a riveter, or the right sized rivets on hand? Another drawback to rivets is their look – on a lot of projects, the modern cheap sheet metal look just won’t do. This great article tells how to make your own heavy-duty rivets from ordinary nails that look great and work well for many projects.… Read the rest

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