Jarret Hynd

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since Apr 17, 2017
250mm of Rainfall, Average Windspeed 10kph & Prevailing WNW.
Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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Recent posts by Jarret Hynd

Judith Browning wrote:We are both seventy and my view of buying more stuff lately is that it either has to outlast us (another thirty years?) or more than support itself in time and cost.    

I'm not sure if one could make a computer that will run for that long, but if you do learn how to use Linux, you would be able to reuse all the "slow Windows computers" that people want to throw away, and by doing that every 7 years or so would keep you up-to-date hardware-wise. Especially if you have family or friends like that, they'd usually prefer to give you an old computer rather than sell it to someone else for $50-100. That's a pretty good method of recycling in my book.

As for the computer supporting itself in time and cost, it really depends on what value you attach to it's usage. I've started using basic programs (that you wouldn't be able to use on a smartphone/tablet) and I'm making a simple blueprint of the design of the farm I work at so we can better visualize and orchestrate our work activities throughout the year. Even out of the blue today I was asked about doing some landscaping design in the spring, so I'll probably be mapping out someone's yard to. There's so much value you can get out of a computer - sky's the limit.



As for Linux, honestly, it's much easier than you think to try it out. It takes a bit of bravery I suppose to change things in BIOS (motherboard settings), but you can't mess much up as long as you are read carefully and are cautious. I'm not a tech support, but this is how the process would go if you wanted to try it on your current computer:

  • Download Ubuntu from DIstrowatch.com
  • (these are typically over 1GB in size, so careful if you have bandwidth/internet restrictions)
  • Use a USB drive and a program like Etcher (or Rufus, etc) to "organize" the Ubuntu image (file) onto your USB Drive so it's ready for you to use.
  • Restart the computer, and when you see an HP logo, click the f10 button constantly(I think f10 is the right button) - you should enter BIOS mode. (here's a video reference)
  • Change the Boot Order from your Hard Drive to your USB device.
  • Go to Save changes and restart - your computer will now load from your USB Drive instead of your Hard Drive
  • When your computer is starting up, you'll see something like this screen pop up - press enter while "try ubuntu without installing" is highlighted
  • After clicking enter, your computer may show a black screen with text loading from top to bottom (I haven't used ubuntu in awhile, so not sure), this process is your computer "reading" the files on your USB Drive
  • Hopefully after 5-20 seconds (processes take longer on old computers), you'll see a screen like this.You can now play around with it and see if your computer runs well with it.
  • If you want to use Windows again, remove the USB drive from the computer. You may have to go into the BIOS mode again and change the boot order from USB Drive to Hard Drive and save and exit.

  • I only explained the process so there is less of a worry about complexity, but there are some risks to take into account - as with anything. The main issue that can arise when doing this is that the "loader" for Windows files can get "lost" and so when you go to boot up Windows on it, you'll get a black screen with the message "bootmgr is missing" or similar. Typically after a restart or two, windows will go into repair mode and fix it itself. The other issue you may face is that your wifi card may not work on Ubuntu upon first loading - typically plugging the Ethernet cable into the machine will update the wifi card information(called drivers) and solve this.


    Judith Browning wrote:I'll plan to try linux whenever I come up with another computer.  Now, though I'm afraid to do anything different for fear it will crash...might be able to squeeze a little more time out of this one if I'm careful? or just lucky?

    I think this is forsure the best way to start out, as it takes a lot of the pressure off. My advice is to focus less on how long your current computer has left, and keep an eye out during this time of year for good deals on used ones.

    I would suggest you look for these kind of specifications, though they aren't written in stone by any means:
  • Windows 10
  • 8gb ddr3 memory, with room for 16gb expansion in the future
  • i5 processor that's 3 ghz or higher
  • (these have "integrated graphics" built into them. You can buy a "dedicated graphics card" later if you want, though may not be necessary)

    Here's a fancy list if you want to use it as reference while out searching - ignore the price as it's automated. Other hardware can be added later

    After that, hopefully the installation of Linux on your old computer works out and you can begin to play around with it. Once you are confident in your usage of Linux, you can do something called "dual-boot" which basically allows you the ability to choose between Windows and Linux via a simple pop-up screen when you power on your computer. Again, this carries a few small risks, but doing so on your old computer is the most cautious and beneficial route I can think of. Even if it takes you 1-2 years of playing around until you get comfortable enough to attempt to dual-boot, at least you now have unleashed a huge new world of options for yourself. Ex. Maybe in 10 years, you are so knowledgeable with Linux, that you can use some of the very light-weight Linux operating systems that are a little harder to navigate. If so, a new computer now may be the last one you will ever need.
    3 days ago
    I agree with Em - youtube-dl is the way to go and avoids the trouble of ads, apps and complicated tricks.


    I don't use it for music, but it's is pretty simple to use even for beginners, but quite powerful once you get a grasp of the advanced commands. Ex. if there is someone's playlist that you like, you can use:

    youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --playlist-items 1,4,5,7,10,12,14,16-20,22,24 PlayListID

    (where PlayListID is the portion of numbers and letter after "List=" in the url of the playlist)

    They'll all auto-download into the same folder. And if you listen to different genres, there's even a way to adjust the command so certain downloads would go into separate folders, but I'm not that keen with it yet
    3 days ago
    From what's been said so far, I feel the least time consuming and likely even the most cost-effective option in the long-run is to get a new(er) computer. As R.Han said, 10 years is a long time for a refurbished computer, and even more so is that your particular desktop was made in 2006. There really isn't much life left to get out of it at the end of the day, or, the effort to get more life out of it may be too costly in time and money compared to other options.


    I used to play around a lot during the winter using linux to improve people's old computers. There was an old dell from 2001 stored in a garage that I took on, but the experience was simply too slow or buggy for 99% of linux distributions. The two that did work had very small memory requirements (<50mb) compared to Windows, but they aren't very user-friendly. In the end I made the decision that was the end of it's life and got rid of it.

    Earlier this year I bought an older laptop from 2012 for $200 so I could be more mobile instead of being stuck at home on a desktop, and with Linux Mint it's usable for me, partly because I already have common upgrade parts laying around. I did buy 16gb of ram($90) only because I used the original 8gb of ram in the laptop to upgrade my neighbour's computer, but this will also help the next person who ends up with my laptop - and they will likely be the last person that gets some life out of it. I don't expect to use this myself for more than 1-2 years at most, as the screen is already starting to have issues.


    Some things to consider after reviewing the thread:
  • In such a situation, the money spent upgrading the dc5700 would be better spent on a newer (2013, 8gb minimum) refurbished desktop. Especially with what Douglas says about 4gb memory limit for your computer, as 8gb is standard these days. Not to mention you could have parts failing on your current computer at any time.
  • With Linux, some programs you want to use may not be as easy to install. And while Ubuntu is simple to use and install, I have doubts that the modern releases of many Linux operating systems will work well on a 2006 desktop. I once had to download a 3 year old version just to get Lubuntu(similar to Ubuntu) to work on a 2006 laptop.
  • There are a lot of laptops 5 years old that have battery issues because people leave them plugged in all the time that can be had for <$200. Even without a battery, It would make a fine desktop replacement as it'd just have to be plugged in all the time. (you can use an external monitor with it as well)
  • Computers have depreciation prices associated with them just like most things these days. Spending $200 on a refurbished computer and getting 5 years out of it is $40/year. I pay more for the internet in a month to use on my computer. I'm sure I pay more for electricity in 2-3 months to run the computer. Just something to consider.

  • I took a quick look on craigslist, and there are kids with gaming computers from 2014 that they are selling for <$250. i5 CPUs, 8gb memory, 1 TB hard drive, windows 10, etc. For your usage, it could last another 5-10 years.

    And yet, there is nothing wrong with waiting for the dc5700 to fail either(or get too slow), as long as you back up your files and can live without a computer for a bit.


    Other than that, to echo John Weiland's comment - an adblock add-on for your browser can help with those auto-playing ads and videos.

    It can really be a confusing rabbit-hole having to assess such scenarios with computers/consumer technology as there are so many factors to consider. :/
    1 week ago
    I haven't followed Pine stuff in awhile since I was researching their Single Board Computers, like the Rock64(their version of Raspberry-pi). I do recall reading a few articles on their open-source laptop and smartphone development plans. Here are some recent articles about it.

    A basic summary of what it is: a phone that doesn't lock you into using certain software. You can download from a choice of various Operating Systems to use, similar to Linux Distributions for computers. Sometimes you hear about "my iphone/android phone needs to be rooted in order to do ___", which is akin to giving yourself Administrative Permissions to do whatever you want on a Windows computer. So rooting gives you full access to make changes to it as you please, but usually at the risk of "bricking" your phone - making it unusable. Since the Pinephone is open-source and lets you modify it to the extent your skills will allow, that is not an issue.

    Since the topic has no direct questions, I'll just write what comes to mind.


    My intuition tells me that 99% of the general public would not have a good experience with such a phone even after the alpha version is completed - that's why it's geared towards developers and enthusiasts. Ex. I was at an Ag seminar today where one of the presenters spoke of how making formulas in Microsoft Excel was so complicated that "only techies can do this kind of stuff".

    I'm typing this reply on an old laptop running Linux Mint(A Linux Operating System), and it has some annoying hick-ups that most general users I know wouldn't put up with. My guess is that open-source phones will be aimed at high-end tech users for some time to come.


    Some questions that come to mind:

  • Will there be long-term support?
  • Wikipedia says the phone will be in production for 5 years, which allures to support for 5 years, but tech projects make a lot of claims that never pan-out.

  • Will there be replacement parts readily available at reasonable prices?
  • By reasonable, I mean not having to spend $100 for a new touch screen for a $150 phone. Google tried to make a modular phone several years ago and it didn't work out, so a small community-based developer team really has their work cut out for them, to say the least.

    Along with that, the project has very few core developers (dedicated full-time to it), so it's essentially in bleeding edge-development, which means it's such a new or unconventional concept that it puts a lot of the risk in the hands of the investors - the people buying the $150 phones in this case. Ex. One day maybe the main developer leaves because of health issues, then the project stops being developed and that can potentially be the end of it. Everyone who bought the phones are kind of left in the dark.

    But, if I could buy a $150 phone that would receive updates for 5 years, and I could buy a $30-40 replacement screen for it until it's not longer in production, I'd buy in. (I would really appreciate a higher quality camera on it though)


    I'm glad they're at least trying, but software development, especially volunteer-powered, can really slow down a project - I'm sure it'll be a awhile before it's close for daily usage by even novice linux users, such as myself.

    If you have any other questions, I have at least enough knowledge (I think) to explain stuff in layman's terms.
    1 week ago
    Jamin pretty much nailed everything regarding hugel basics - kudos :)

    Although my experience with half-buried logs is not quite the same. As I live in a temperate desert, maybe with similar spring/summer conditions to OP, the log is always in a state of wicking up moisture from the soil which is then taken from the log by all the hot ,dry winds. This not only dries up the surrounding soil but keeps the logs from decaying - not so good for putting nutrients into the soil. There is a mini hugel in my yard from 3 years ago, 1 foot deep by 2 feet wide, where I didn't have enough soil to cover the top of it, and pretty much all the logs that aren't below ground-level are still hard to this day, which I am sure is due to the wicking effect. This is dependent on what your climate is like though, but I figured I'd mention it as OP talked about a dry summer.


    In comparison to the mini hugel which was barely so-so in results, I once had access to a larger garden where I dug a 4 foot wide by 3 foot deep (though it was also 3 foot above the soil in the end) hugel with a skid steer 3 years ago and it performed 2 or 3 times better..

    I finished it in the middle of the first snow(storm) of that year, barely getting 1000L of water in it, and 1 foot of soil over it before it was too late. But 6 months later during the following summer all the logs in the hugel, even the top ones, had become soft enough to break apart by hand. It also shrank in size, as things settled and started to decay, so it was only about 2 foot above the ground by then.


    I'm not sure what you plan to plant into the hugel, but the reason I did mine in late fall is because most plants aren't happy in shifting soil(as the logs decay, earth settles, etc). The 6 months of waiting until Spring allowed most of the settling to occur. If you plan to make the hugel and then plant straight into them without a waiting period, the best bet are usually potatoes.

    Dan Fish wrote:My first year garden beds started off great but in the dry heat of a Mediterranean summer they ended up "eating" all my organic matter and reverting to heavy clay and became hard as a rock and dry as a bone 6 inches below the surface. Water would just turn the top few inches under the mulch to slop without penetrating further. So the beds are gonna get huglified. I know this will help but I ran outta time last year. I plan on digging down about a foot below grade and filling with wood (and all the other stuff) to about a foot above. Then topping with about 4-6 inches of soil.

    It takes awhile to reverse a clay-pan type soil. In the larger garden area, I used to try to plant potatoes into a heavy clay soil, and even after adding straw on top the results were poor for the reasons you outlined. So I borrowed a rototiller, put about 3 truck loads of leaves (say 6 inches thick) over the area, went over it a few times and then applied a deep watering and straw mulch. The following year the top 12 inches of soil had improved quite a bit to where digging wasn't difficult anymore, the straw mulch did it's job, and the potatoes were plentiful. That was the only time I had to rototill, and it only required straw mulch applications afterwards.

    Poor luck on the pipes freezing, but best of luck with the hugel :)
    1 week ago

    Trace Oswald wrote:Either way, I wasn't trying to start a debate as to which tools are better, just to pass along a deal I saw.  Anyone that isn't interested is certainly free to skip clicking the link

    Yeah, for most consumers as long as you go with one of the big 3 (makita, dewalt, milwaukee), you are good to go. And different areas have different dealers (think warranty), some with better deals and support than others. So it's hard to say what's best at the end of the day.


    If someone has enough batteries (or patience to wait), or the usage is minimal enough, or they don't own a gas chainsaw, then I'd say it'd be worthwhile to try it out. I do a lot of pruning, so I have a brushless reciprocating saw with several 5 aH batteries. One battery typically lasts for 20 minutes of continuous cutting, so I imagine that an electric chainsaw doing heavier/faster work would use up more power = less run time by comparison.  

    The distinction I've made is that the reciprocating saw does a good job cutting wood that is less than 8 inches in diameter, and anything over 8 inches is best cut with a chainsaw. It's just a guideline I use, but it can depend a lot on what you are cutting as well.

    Anyways, just some additional observations for curious consumers - I am also not here to start a debate :)


    My employer asked me about getting a dewalt electric chainsaw last year for his farm, but the price here in Canada is $250-300, so it was not really worth it. For $100 though, it's certainly worth a try. The worst case scenario is that you use it for 20 hours to clean up your yard, and sell it for half price later - a good return on investment either way.
    2 weeks ago
    I thought I'd chime in, if only to share my optimistic case-study.

    I planted some for similar reasons that you describe.

    It was a drought year 2 years ago, and around the first week in september I raked about 300ft of curb to make sure the seed could get direct contact with the soil. I cut the grass extra short, knowing it was going into hibernation mode for the winter and wouldn't grow back very much until next spring. There was also a big rain the next day, and I didn't have a hose long enough to reach most areas of the curb, so that's all it got.

    It barely sprouted last year, possible due to warm winters (no snow cover = winter kill), but this year I could see areas where it was dense - maybe only 30% of the seed took overall. Note: I'm in a temperate, hot dry desert, on the side of a hill with silt/clay soil, I have never watered it and I did next to nothing to deter the grass.

    Also, I haven't noticed it crowding out any weeds, as it doesn't get over 4 inches tall here. And I haven't noticed it ever dying off from lack of water, even though we only get 13 inches of precipitation a year.


    Assuming you do even 20% more preparation than I did, and taking into account your climate, I would say you'll be enjoying the benefits of a nice short "lawn" in no time :) (It looks wonderful when flowering)

    Best of luck!
    2 months ago

    D.W. Stratton wrote:Am I setting myself up for huge dental bills and horrid decay, or is the notion of replacing that often predicated on selling more toothbrushes or what have you?

    I would say you are fine either way. A new manual tooth brush every 6 months is an expense that's not worth considering as far as I'm concerned. (I think my last toothbrush was $2)

    For the trendy bamboo toothbrush you have, it's price tag is already marked up a lot, but again, $7 every 6 month isn't much. If $7 spares you from the worry of a big dentist bill, then I'd say that alone is worth it.


    And on the other side, as long as there are still a decent amount of bristles on it, which I'm sure there are, I would think it should be effective enough to do it's job. I'm not sure why a piece of plastic would have an expiry date outside of being an attempt to standardize oral hygiene guidelines for dentists and the general population. (similar to the purpose of food charts)

    Flip a coin if you're in a fun mood. :)

    2 months ago
    Hello Dawn, welcome to permies :)

    The shrubs themselves, along with the top soil beneath them (which turns into a sort of "peat-moss" from leaf and seed debris decaying over years), are full of nitrogen which might be a nice boost to help you develop your eden garden a bit faster.

    As TJ says, even when not chipped Caragana wood will decay quickly, so you may need to compensate that with another type of wood chips. Then again, if your yard is similar to the ones around here, you may have an endless supply to restock with. I' rent 2 lots in a small village and have about 400ft of caragana. I think I've cut them twice in the last 7 years, so it takes them about 3-4 years to grow back to full height again. Even when everything else dies from winterkill, they just keep coming back,

    I like to think of caragana as the poor man's bamboo of the prairies - or at least a different kind of fast-growing shrub with other valuable uses. It also makes good kindling as it catches fire quickly and you don't have to chop it up with an axe because it's already the right width.

    Have fun! :)
    2 months ago

    Jack Edmondson wrote:Granted this does not fall under "food" for medicine, but my Grandfather, whom grew up on Gulf Coast island, swore a teaspoon of sulfur taken orally would keep the mosquitos off a person.  Now he was a depression era child.  I have no idea where one would find edible sulfur today (maybe at the Chemist on the corner); or if it safe, frankly.   But that is how they survived the squadrons of mosquitos before products like "OFF!"  

    Seems to be a bit of a connection to what others are saying, as Garlic (and other alliums) has a lot of sulfur in it.

    D.W. Stratton wrote:Be careful with how much garlic you eat raw. I had a professor friend pass out and hot his head after eating a whole bulb raw. Some compound in raw garlic can drop your blood pressure pretty quickly. Other than that, carry on.

    Yeah, if I don't eat enough carbs while working hard+eating 5 cloves a day, I get fatigued more easily. That blood thinning compound is sulfur apparently.

    Sulfur-containing foods include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower (these are all known as cruciferous vegetables), sunflower seeds, garlic , onions, asparagus, avocados, beans, peas, mustard, horse-radish, lentils, soybeans, and yogurt....snip...MSM has blood thinning effects

    Jd Gonzalez wrote:I use grapefruit peel. The peel contains an essential oil (nootkatone) that repels bugs and kills ticks and fleas. I steep the peels in rubbing alcohol and spray it on me when I go out in the woods. No bites.

    I used neem oil on my skin a few times this year as an experiment, but didn't really like how oily it is or how it smells - not sure on the results either. I'll give grapefruit a try next spring - thanks

    (sorry for off-topics, OP, but at least we seem to have identified 1 plant that repels bugs by eating it.)
    2 months ago