How to winterize a lawn mower

Winterizing a lawn mower is very easy and something I definitely recommend doing–nothing gums up a mower like sitting in a garage for five months with a full gas tank. Taking fifteen minutes out of your day sometime in November can save you lots of heartache, and maybe 50 bucks, come spring.

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I didn’t winterize my lawnmower but I got away with it. Here’s how.

Last year I didn’t winterize my lawnmower at the end of the season. Shame on me. So I took some extra precautions this year to avoid a $50 lawn mower repair, and got away with it. Here’s what I did.

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How to fix a loose brick in a fireplace or retaining wall

If you have a loose brick in something like a fireplace or a retaining wall, my home inspector told me an easy, inexpensive, and nearly permanent way to fix them: Use epoxy.

Epoxy works because it’s stronger than cement. And while it’s not economical to use epoxy for mortar instead of cement, in small quantities it’s cheap enough, and much quicker.

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Build the best, most secure wifi in your neighborhood

My neighbor asked me for advice on setting up wi-fi in his new house. I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written about wi-fi, and it’s never been cheaper or easier to blanket your house and yard with a good signal.

Blanketing your house and yard while remaining secure, though, is still important.

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What to look for in a wireless access point

A good way to eliminate dead zones in your house where wifi doesn’t work is to add one or two wireless access points to your setup.

Access points, thankfully, are no longer stupid expensive–they used to cost twice as much as a router in spite of being nothing more than a cut-down router–but almost every access point I’ve looked at has one or more compromises built in. That said, if you want something you can plug in and configure by filling out three or four things, you might be willing to live with those compromises.

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Avoiding counterfeit baseball cards

Several times now, I’ve seen people like me, who used to collect baseball cards, went on hiatus, then came back, ask how to avoid counterfeit cards, or at least detect them before it’s too late.

There’s a surprisingly simple answer that often works really well.

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Home Depot’s Ecosmart 40w replacement is a good $5 LED bulb

So I took the plunge and bought a package of the Ecosmart 40w equivalent soft white LED bulbs last week. As long as you’re aware that it’s not dimmable–let me repeat that, it’s not dimmable–it’s a really good bulb, especially at $10 for a package of two, assuming no local subsidies.

For $5 each, you get 450 lumens of soft white light while consuming only 6 watts of power.

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Victory ping.

“Whatever happened to the Legions of Doom server?” a coworker asked me as a technician swapped her computer.

I smiled a wicked smile. “Victory ping!” I then turned to my computer. “Ping pmprint02. Request timed out. Request timed out. Request timed out. Request timed out,” I read as the words scrolled onto my screen.

“Victory ping?” my boss–yes, my lunch ninja boss–came over and asked.

“I know that box,” the technician said. There’s a good reason he didn’t say “server.”

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In defense of Anthem declining the OIG audit

Anthem recently refused to allow the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to perform an audit of its networks. Coming on the heels of a large breach, there’s been a bit of an uproar about it.

There are a few things to keep in mind, the first being that this isn’t driven by law enforcement–it’s a customer requesting an audit.

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Hillary, hackers, threats, and national security

I got a point-blank question in the comments earlier this week: Did Hillary Clinton’s home-made mail server put national secrets at risk of being hacked by our enemies?

Depending on the enemies, maybe marginally. But not enough that any security professional that I know of is worried about it. Here’s why.

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